Parerga and Paralipomena: Short Philosophical Essays [Volume II] 9780199242214

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Parerga and Paralipomena: Short Philosophical Essays [Volume II]

Table of contents :
Title Page
I. On Philosophy and its Method
II. On Logic and Dialectic
III. Ideas concerning the Intellect generally and in all Respects
IV. Some Observations on the Antithesis of the Thing-in-itself and the Phenomenon
V. A Few Words on Pantheism
VI. On Philosophy and Natural Science
VII. On the Theory of Colours
VIII. On Ethics
IX. On Jurisprudence and Politics
X. On the Doctrine of the lndestructibilitv of our True Nature by Death
XI. Additional Remarks on the Doctrine of the Vanity of Existence
XII. Additional Remarks on the Doctrine of the Suffering of the World
XIII. On Suicide
XIV. Additional Remarks on the Doctrine of the Affirmation and Denial of the Will-to-Live
XV. On Religion
XVI. Some Remarks on Sanskrit Literature
XVII. Some Archaeological Observations
XVIII. Some Mythological Observations
XIX. On the Metaphysics of the Beautiful and Aesthetics
XX. On Judgement, Criticism, Approbation and Fame
XXI. On Learning and the Learned
XXII. On Thinking for Oneself
XXIII. On Authorship and Style
XXIV. On Reading and Books
XXV. On Language and Words
XXVI. Psychological Remarks
XXVII. On Women
XXVIII. On Education
XXIX. On Physiognomy
XXX. On Din and Noise
XXXI. Similes, Parables, and Fables
Some Verses
Selected Bibliography

Citation preview

Parerga and Paralipomena Short Philosophical Essays by ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER

Translated from the German by E. F. J. PAYNE VOLUl\fE T\VO



Great Clarendon Street, Oxford OX2 6DP Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's ob.iective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide in (:)xford New York Auckland Cape Town Dar cs Salaam Hong Kong Karachi Kuala Lumpur Madrid Melbourne Mexico City Nairobi New Delhi Shanghai Taipei Toronto With offices in Argentina Austria Brazil Chile Czech Republic France Greece Guatemala Hungary Italy Japan South Korea Poland Portugal Singapore Switzerland Thailand Thrkey Ukraine Vietnam Oxford is a registered trade mark of Oxford University Press in the UK and in certain other countries Published in the United States by Oxford University Press Inc., New York ~Oxford

University Press 1974

The moral rights of the author have been asserted Database right Oxford University Press (maker) First published 1974 Reissued 2000

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of Oxford University Press, or as expressly permitted by law, or under terms agreed with the appropriate reprographics rights organization. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside the scope of the above should be sent to the Rights Department, Oxford University Press, at the address above You must not circulate this book in any other binding or cover and you must impose this same condition on any acquirer British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data Data available Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Schopenhauer, Arthur, 1788-1860. IParerga and paralipomena. English) Parerga and paralipomena: short philosophical essays I Arthur Schopenhauer; translated from the German by E. F. J. Paync.-Rev. cd. p. em. Includes bibliographical references and index. Contents: v. l. Six long philosophical essays./-v. 2. Short philosophical essays. I. Philosophy. I. Payne, E. F. J. II. Title. B3118.ES P38 2000 193-dc21 00-059825 ISBN 0-19-924221-6 5791086

Printed in Great Britain by on acid-free paper by Biddies Ltd., King's Lynn, Norfolk

Vitam impendere vero Juvenal, Sat. IV. 91 ["Dedicate one's Hfe to truth"]


3 21

III. Ideas concerning the Intellect generally and in all Respects


IV. Some Observations on the Antithesis of the Thing-in-Itself and the Phenomenon


V. A few Words on Pantheism VI. On Philosophy and Natural Science VII. On the Theory of Colours VIII. On Ethics IX. On Jurisprudence and Politics

99 103

177 201 240

X. On the Doctrine of the Indestructibility of our True Nature by Death


XI. Additional Remarks on the Doctrine of the Vanity of Existence


XII. Additional Remarks on the Doctrine of the Suffering of the World


XII I. On Suicide


XIV. Additional Remarks on the Doctrine of the Affirmation and Denial of the Will-to-Live

31 2

XV. On Religion XVI. Some Remarks on Sanskrit Literature XVII. Some Archaeological Observations XVIII. Some Mythological Observations XIX. On the Metaphysics of the Beautiful and Aesthetics




XX. On Judgement, Criticism, Approbation, and Fame XXI. On Learning and the Learned

453 4 79

XXII. On Thinking for Oneself


XXIII. On Authorship and Style


XXIV. On Reading and Books


XXV. On Language and Words XXVI. Psychological Remarks XXVII. On Women XXVIII. On Education XXIX. On Physiognomy XXX. On Din and Noise XXXI. Similes, Parables, and Fables

565 581

614 627 634 642 646

Some Verses


Selected Bibliography





Eleusis servat quod ostendat revisentibus. Seneca, Naturales quaestiones, vn. go. [' Eleusis keeps something that it can disclose only on a second visit.']


On Philosophy and its Method §I The ultimate basis on which all our knowledge and science rest is the inexplicable. Therefore every explanation leads back to this by means of more or less intermediate stages, just as in the sea the plummet finds the bottom sometimes at a greater and sometimes at a lesser depth, yet everywhere it must ultimately reach this. This inexplicable something devolves on metaphysics. §2 Almost all are for ever thinking that they are such and such a man (TtS' av8pw1roS'), together with the corollaries resulting therefrom. On the other hand, it hardly ever occurs to them that they are in general a human being (o av8pw1ros) with all the corollaries following from this; and yet this is the vital question. The few who adhere more to the latter than to the former proposition are philosophers. The tendency of the others, however, is reducible to the fact that generally they always see in things only their particular and individual aspect, never their universal. Only the more highly gifted, according to the degree of their eminence, see more and more in individual things their universal aspect. This important distinction penetrates the whole faculty of knowledge to such a degree that it reaches down to the intuitive perception of the most ordinary everyday objects. Hence such perception is in the eminent mind different from what it is in the ordinary. This grasping of the universal in the particular that always presents itself coincides also with what I have called the pure will-less subject of knowing, and have set up as the subjective correlative of the Platonic Idea. For only if knowledge is directed to the universal can it remain will-less; on the other hand, the objects of willing are to be found in individual things. Therefore the knowledge of animals is strictly limited to these particular things and accordingly their



intellect remains exclusively in the service of their will. On the other hand, that tendency of the mind to the universal is the indispensable condition for true and original achievements in philosophy, poetry, and the arts and sciences generally. For the intellect in the service of the will and thus in practical use, there are only particular things; for the intellect which pursues art or science and is, therefore, active for its O'\vn sake, there are only universalities, whole kinds, species, classes, Ideas of things; for even the creative artist tries in the individual to present the Idea, the species. This is due to the fact that the will is directly turned only to particular things which are its real objects, for they alone have empirical reality. Concepts, classes, and species, on the other hand, can become its objects only very indirectly; and so the vulgar and uncultured have no thought or desire for universal truths, whereas the genius overlooks and ignores what is individual. Enforced occupation with the particular thing as such, in so far as this constitutes the material of practical life, is for him an irksome bondage.

§3 The two primary requirements for philosophizing are first that we have the courage to make a clean breast of a question, and secondly that we become clearly conscious of everything that is self-evident in order to comprehend it as a problet:n. Finally in order really to philosophize, the mind must be truly at leisure. It must not pursue any aims and so must not be guided by the will; it must give its undivided attention to the instruction that is imparted to it by the world of intuitive perception and by its own consciousness. Professors of philosophy, on the other hand, have in mind their personal interest and advantage and what leads thereto; this is where they are in earnest. Hence there are so many distinct things which they do not see at all; in fact, not even the problems of philosophy ever occur to them.

§4 The poet brings before the imagination pictures of life, human characters and situations, all of which he sets in motion and then leaves it to everyone to think in the case of such pictures as much as his mental powers will allow. For this reason,



he is able to satisfy men of the most varied capacities, indeed fools and sages simultaneously. The philosopher, on the other hand, does not bring life itself in this way, but the completed ideas he has abstracted therefrom, and he now requires that his reader will think in precisely the same way and to just the same extent as does he himself; and so his public will be very small. The poet is, accordingly, comparable to the man who brings the flowers, whereas the philosopher resembles one who brings their quintessence. Another great advantage that poetical achievements have over philosophical is that all the works of poetry can exist simultaneously without thwarting and impeding one another; in fact even the most heterogeneous can be enjoyed and appreciated by one and the same mind. On the other hand, hardly has any philosophical system come into the world when it already contemplates the destruction of all its brothers, like an Asiatic sultan when he ascends the throne. For just as there can be only one queen in a beehive, so can only one philosophy be the order of the day. Thus systems are by nature as unsociable as spiders, each of which sits alone in its web and sees how many flies will allow themselves to be caught therein, but approaches another spider merely in order to battle with it. Thus whereas the works of poets pasture peacefully side by side like lambs, those of philosophy are born beasts of prey and, even in their destructive impulse, they are like scorpions, spiders, and the larvae of some insects and are turned primarily against their own species. They appear in the world like men clad in annour from the seed of the dragon's teeth of jason and till now have, like these, mutually exterminated one another. This struggle has already lasted for more than two thousand years; will there ever result from it a final victory and lasting peace? In consequence of this essentially polemical nature, this bellum omnium contra omnes 1 of philosophical systems, it is infinitely more difficult to gain recognition as a philosopher than as a poet. The poet's work demands of the reader nothing more than an entry into the series of writings that entertain or elevate him and the devotion thereto of a few hours. The •['War of all against all'.]



philosopher's work, on the other hand, tries to revolutionize the reader's whole mode of thought. It demands of him that he shall acknowledge as error all that he has hitherto learnt and believed in this branch of knowledge; that he shall declare all his time and trouble to be wasted; and that he shall begin again at the beginning. At most, it leaves standing a few fragments of a predecessor in order thereon to make its foundation. Again, there is the fact that it has in every teacher of an already existing system an opponent by virtue of his office. In fact, even the State smnetimes takes under its protection a favourite philosophical system and, by n1eans of its powerful material resources, prevents the success of any other. Moreover, if we bear in mind that the size of the philosophical public and that of the poetical are in the same proportion as the number of those who want to be taught is to the number who want to be amused, we shall be able to judge, quibus auspiciis,z a philosopher makes his appearance. On the other hand, of course, it is the approbation of thinkers, of the elect of long intervals of time and of all countries without national distinction, with which the philosopher is rewarded. Gradually, on the strength of authority, the crowd learns to respect and honour his name. In accordance with this and on account of the slow but profound effect of the course of philosophy on that of the whole human race, the history of philosophers has proceeded for thousands of years along with that of kings and has numbered a hundred times fewer names than has the latter. It is, therefore, a great thing for anyone to procure for his name a permanent place in the history of philosophers.

§s The philosophical author is the leader, his reader the wanderer. If they are to arrive together, they tnust above all start out together; in other words, the author must take up his reader at a standpoint which they undoubtedly have in common. This, however, can be none other than that of empirical consciousness that is common to us all. Let him, therefore, take him firmly by the hand and see how high above the clouds he can reach, step by step on the mountain path. :!('Under what auspices'.]



Kant proceeded in this way; he started from the entirely common consciousness of other things as well as of his own self. On the other hand, how absurd it is to attempt to start from the standpoint of a pretended intellectual intuition of hyperphysical relations, or of events, or even of a reason [ Vernunft] that perceives the supernatural, or of an absolute self-thinking reason [Vernunft]! For all this means starting from the standpoint of cognitions that are not directly communicable; and so here, at the very beginning, the reader never knows whether he is standing near his author or is miles away frmn him.

§6 Conversation about things with someone else is related to our own serious meditation and profound consideration of them as is a machine to a living organisn1. For only in the latter is everything as if it were cut from one piece or played in one key; and thus it can attain absolute clearness, distinctness, and true coherence, in fact unity; whereas with the fonner heterogeneous pieces of very different origin are put together and a certain unity of movement is forced which often stops unexpectedly. Thus only ourselves do we thoroughly understand; others are only half-understood, for at best we can attain to a community of concepts, not to that of intuitive apprehension which is the very basis thereof. Therefore profound philosophical truths will never be brought to light by way of common thinking in dialogue. Yet such a thing is very useful for the preliminary practice, hunting up, and ventilation of problems, and subsequently for the testing, control, and criticism of the suggested solution. Plato's dialogues are drawn up in this sense, and accordingly from his school there issued the second and third academies with an increasingly sceptical tendency. As a form for the communication of philosophical ideas the written dialogue is appropriate only when the subject ad.Inits of two or more quite different or even opposite views. The judgement concerning them is to be left to the reader; or taken together they lead to a complete and correct comprehension of the matter. To the first case belongs the refutation of objections that are raised. But then the dialogue form that is chosen for this purpose must becon1e genuinely dramatic in that the



variety of views is thoroughly stressed and worked out; there must really be two who speak. Without some such purpose it is mere idle play, as is often the case.

§7 Neither our knowledge nor our insight will ever be increased to any great extent by a comparison and discussion of what has been said by others; for this is always merely like pouring water from one vessel into another. Only through our own contemplation of things themselves can insight and knowledge be really enriched; for it alone is the living source that is always ready and at hand. It is, therefore, curious to see how would-be philosophers are always busy on the former path and do not appear to know the latter at all; how they are always concerned with what one man has said and what another may have meant. Thus they are, so to speak, always turning old vessels upside down to see whether some drop may have been left behi)ld, whereas the living source flows neglected at their feet. Nothing so much as this betrays their incapacity and gives the lie to their assumed air of importance, profundity, and originality.

§8 Those who hope to become philosophers by studying the history of philosophy ought rather to infer from this that philosophers, like poets, are only born, and indeed much more rarely.

§g A strange and unworthy definition of philosophy, which even Kant gives, is that it is a branch of learning from mere concepts. Yet the whole property of concepts is nothing but what has been deposited in them, after it had been begged and borrowed from knowledge of intuitive perception, that real and inexhaustible source of all insight. Therefore a true philosophy cannot be spun out of n1ere abstract concepts, but must be based on observation and experience, both inner and outer. It is not by the attempts at the combination of concepts, such as have been so often carried out, especially by the sophists of our times, Fichte and Schelling, yet in its most repulsive form by Hegel and also in morality by Schleiermacher, that any-



thing sound will ever be achieved in philosophy. Like art and poetry, it must have its source in an apprehension of the world through intuitive perception. l\rioreover, however nmch the head has to remain uppermost, the course of things should not be so cold-blooded that the whole man, with heart and head, does not in the end take action and become thoroughly roused. Philosophy is no algebraical sum; on the contrary, Vauvenargues is right when he says: Les grandes pmsees viennent du coeur.3

§ IO On the whole, the philosophy of all times can be conceived as a pendulum swinging between raJionalism and illuminism, that is, between the usc of the objective source of knowledge and that of the subjective. Rationalism, having for its organ the intellect that is originally destined to serve the will alone and is thus directed outwards, makes its first appearance as dogmatism; and as such it maintains a completely objective attitude. It then changes to scepticism and, in consequence thereof, ultin1ately becomes criticism. Through a consideration of the subject, it undertakes to settle the dispute; in other words, it becomes transcendental philosophy. By this I understand every philosophy that starts from the fact that its nearest and in1mediate object are not things, but only man's consciousness thereof, which should, therefore, never be left out of account. The French smnewhat inaccurately call this the methode psychologique as opposed to the m!thode purement logique, by which they understand quite simply the philosophy that starts from objects or frmn objectively thought concepts, and hence dogmatis1n. Having now reached this point, rationalism arrives at the knowledge that its organon grasps only the phenormnon, but docs not reach the ultimate, inner, and original essence of things. At all its stages, yet here most of all, illuminism asserts itself as its antithesis. Directed essentially inwards, illuminism as its organon inner illumination, intellectual intuition, higher consciousness, immediately knowing reason [Vernurift], divine consciousness, unification, and the like, and disparages rationalism as the 'light of nature'. Now if here it takes as its basis a J

['Great thoughts come from the heart •.]



religion, it becOines mysticism; but its fundamental defect is that its knowledge is not communicable. This is due partly to the fact that for inner perception there is no criterion of identity of the object of different subjects, and partly to the fact that such knowledge would nevertheless have to be comn1u1ucated by means of language. But this has arisen for the purpose of the intellect's outwardly directed knowledge by means of abstractions therefrom and is quite unsuited for expressing the inner states or conditions which are fundamentally different from it and are the material of illuminism. And so this \Vould have to form a language of its own; but this again is not possible, on account of the first reason previously mentioned. Now as such a knowledge is not communicable, it is also undemonstrable, whereupon rationalis1n again enters the field hand in hand with scepticism. Illuminism can be traced even in certain passages of Plato; but it makes a more definite appearance in the philosophy of the Neo-Platonists, the Gnostics, Dionysius the Areopagite, as well as in that of Scotus Er:igena; further among the Mohammedans in the teaching of the Sufi; in India it is dominant in the Vedanta and Mimansa; it appears most decidedly in Jacob Boehme and all the Christian mystics. It always appears when rationalism has run its course without attaining its goal. Thus it crune towards the end of the scholastic philosophy and in opposition thereto as mysticism, especially of the Germans, in Taulcr and the author of the Theologia Germanica among others; and likewise in modern times in opposition to the Kantian philosophy, in Jacobi and Schelling and similarly in Fichtc's last period. But philosophy should be communicable knowledge and xnust, therefore, be rationalism. Accordingly, at the end of 1ny philosophy I have indicated the sphere of illuminism as something that exists but I have guarded against setting even one foot thereon. For I have not undertaken to give an ultimate explanation of the world's existence, but have only gone as far as is possible on the objective path of rationalism. I have left the ground free for illuminism where, in its own way, it may arrive at a solution to aU problems without obstructing my path or having to engage in polemic against me. Nevertheless, a concealed illurnirusJn xnay often enough underlie rationalism; and to such an illumirusm the philosopher then looks as to a hidden compass, whereas he admittedly



steers his course only by the stars, that is, in accordance with external objects which clearly lie before him and which alone he takes into account. This is admissible because he does not undertake to communicate incommunicable knowledge, but his communications remain purely objective and rational. This may have been the case with Plato, Spinoza, Malebranche, and many others; it does not concern anyone, for they are the secrets of their own breast. On the other hand, the noisy appeal to intellectual intuition and the bold statement of its substance with a claim to the objective validity thereof, as in the case of Fichte and Schelling, are impudent and objectionable. For the rest, illuminism is in itself a natural, and to that extent justifiable, attempt to ascertain the truth. For the outwardly directed intellect, as mere organon for the purposes of the will and consequently something merely secondary, is nevertheless only a part of our entire human nature. It belongs to the phenomenon and its knowledge merely corresponds thereto, since it exists solely for the purpose of the phenomenon. Therefore what can be more natural than that, when we have failed with the objectively knowing intellect, we now bring into play all that remains of our true being which must also be the thing-initself and thus belong to the true nature of the world and consequently somehow carry within itself the solution to all the riddles in order through it to seek help? This would be like the ancient Germans who, when they had gambled away everything, finally staked their own persons. But the only correct and objectively valid way of carrying this out is for us to apprehend the empirical fact of a will that proclaims itself in our inmost being and constitutes our only true nature and to apply this fact in order to explain objective external knowledge, as I have accordingly done. On the other hand, for the reasons already stated, the path of illuminism does not lead to the goal.

§II Mere astuteness qualifies one to be a sceptic, but not a philosopher. Nevertheless, scepticism is in philosophy what the opposition is in parliament; it is as beneficial as it is necessary. It is everywhere based on the fact that philosophy is not capable of evidence of the kind that mathematics has, any Inore than a human being is capable of the tricks of animal instinct which



arc also just as a priori certain. Therefore against every system, scepticism will always be able to lay itself in the other scale; but compared with the other, its weight will ultimately become so insignificant that it no more impairs it than it does the arithmetical squaring of the circle which in fact is only approximate. What we know has a double value if at the same time we own up to not knowing what we do not know. For in this way, what we know becomes free from suspicion to which it is exposed when, like the Schellingites for instance, we pretend to know even what we do not know.

§ 12 Declarations of reason [ Vernutifi] is the expression used by everyone for certain propositions which he regards as true without investigation and which he believes with so firm a conviction that, even if he wanted to, he could never bring himself seriously to test them, for to do so he would meanwhile have to call them in question. They have become firmly believed by him because, when he began to speak and think, they were constantly taught to him and were thus implanted in his mind. Therefore his habit of thinking them is just as old as is the habit of thinking itself, so that the result is that he is no longer able to separate the two; in fact they have grown up with his brain. What is said here is so true that to support it with examples would be superfluous on the one hand, and hazardous on the other. § 13 No view of the world can be entirely false which has sprung from an objective intuitive apprehension of things and has been logically and consistently maintained. On the contrary, such a view is in the worst case only one-sided as, for example, thorough materialism, absolute idealism, and others. They are all true, but they are all this simultaneously; consequently their truth is only relative. Thus every such conception is true only from a definite standpoint just as a picture presents a landscape only from one point of view. If, however, we raise ourselves above the standpoint of such a system, we recognize the relative nature of its truth, that is, its one-sidedness. Only the highest standpoint that surveys and takes into account



everything can furnish us with absolute truth. Accordingly, it is true, for instance, when I consider myself as a merely temporal product of nature which has come into being and is destined to complete destruction, somewhat after the manner of Ecclesiastes. At the same time, it is true that everything that ever was and ever will be I am, and outside me there is nothing. It is just as true when, after the manner of Anacreon, I put the greatest happiness in the enjoyment of the present moment; but at the same time it is true when I recognize the salutary nature of suffering and the emptiness and even pernicious influence of all pleasure, and conceive death as the aim and object of my existence. All this is due to the fact that every view that is logically carried out is only an objective apprehension of nature through intuitive perception, which is translated into concepts and thereby fixed. But nature, in other words, that which is intuitively perceptual, never lies or contradicts herself, for her inner essence excludes any such thing. Therefore whenever we have contradiction and falsehood, we have ideas that have not sprung from objective apprehension, e.g., in optimism. On the other hand, an objective apprehension may be incomplete and one·sided; it then needs to be supplemented, not refuted. §14 One is never tired of reproaching metaphysics with its very small progress in face of the great advance made by the physical sciences. Even Voltaire exclaims: 0 metaphysique! nous sommes aussi avances que du tems des premiers Druid£s4 (Melanges philosophi· ques, ch. g). But what other branch of knowledge has always had, like metaphysics, an ex officio antagonist, an appointed fiscal prosecutor, a king's champion in full armour, as a permanent hindrance, who falls upon it defenceless and weaponless? It will never show its true powers, never be able to make its giant strides, so long as it is expected under threats to accommodate itself to dogmas that arc adapted to the very small capacity of the masses. First our arms are tied and then we are ridiculed because we cannot achieve anything. Religions have taken possession of man's metaphysical tendency partly by paralysing it through the early inculcation • ['0 metaphysics! We have rome as far as the times of the early Druids.']



of their dogmas and partly by forbidding and tabooing all free and unprejudiced expressions of it. Thus for man the free investigation concerning the most important and interesting affairs, namely his very existence, is to some extent directly forbidden, indirectly prevented, or rendered impossible subjectively through that paralysing effect; and in this way the sublimest of his faculties lies in fetters.

§ 15 In order to become tolerant of the views of others which are opposed to our own and to be patient with contradiction, perhaps nothing is more effective than for us to remember how often we ourselves have successively held quite opposite opinions on the same subject and have repeatedly changed them, sometimes even within a very short period; how we have rejected and again taken up an opinion and then its opposite, according as the subject presented itself now in this light and now in that. In the same way, nothing is more calculated to find favour with another, after we have contradicted his opinion, than the phrase: 'I was previously of the same opinion but' and so on.

§ 16 A false teaching, whether founded on an erroneous view or sprung from an unworthy purpose, is always intended only for special circumstances and consequently for a certain time; but truth is for all time, although for a while it may be misunderstood or stifled. For as soon as a little light comes from within or a little air from without, someone is found to proclaim or defend it. Thus since it has not sprung from the design or purpose of any party, any eminent mind becomes its champion at any time. For it is like the magnet that points always and everywhere in one absolutely definite direction; the false teaching, on the other hand, is like a statue which with its hand points to another; when once it is separated from this, it has lost all significance.

§ 17 What is most opposed to the discovery of truth is not the false appearance that proceeds from things and leads to error, or even directly a weakness of the intellect. On the contrary, it is



the preconceived opinion, the prejudice, which, as a spurious a priori, is opposed to truth. It is then like a contrary wind that drives the ship back from the direction in which the land lies, so that rudder and sail now work to no purpose.

§ 18 I comment as follows on the verse from Goethe's Faust; What from your fathers' heritage is lent, Earn it anew, really to possess it!s

It is of great value and advantage for us to discover by our own means, independently of thinkers and before we know it, what they have already discovered before us. For what we have thought out for ourselves is understood much more thoroughly than what we have learnt; and when we subsequently find it in the works of those earlier thinkers, it obtains through the acknowledged authority of others an unexpected confirmation that speaks strongly in favour of its truth. In this way, we then gain confidence and assurance for championing it in face of every contradiction. If, on the other hand, we have first discovered something in books, but have then arrived at the same result through our own reflection, we never know for certain whether we have thought this out and judged it for ourselves and have not merely repeated the words of those earlier thinkers or appropriated their sentiments. Now this makes a very great difference as regards the certainty of the matter. For in the latter case, we might after all have erred with those thinkers through our being preoccupied with them, just as water readily follows a wellworn course. If two men independently do a calculation and obtain the same result, this is sure and certain; but not if the calculation of one of them has been merely looked through by the other. §19 It is a consequence of the nature of our intellect, sprung as it is from the will, that we cannot help conceiving the world either as end or as means. Now the first would assert that its existence was justified by its essence and that such existence would, therefore, be decidedly preferable to its non-existence. But the s [From Bayard Taylor's translation.]



knowledge that it is only the scene of struggle for suffering and dying beings renders this idea untenable. Again, the infinity of the time that has already elapsed docs not admit of its being conceived as means, for by virtue of infinite time, every end to be attained would necessarily have been reached long ago. Fron1 this it follows that that application of the presupposition, natural to our intellect, to the totality of things or to the world is transcendent; in other words, it is one that is valid in the world, but not of the world. This can be explained from the fact that it springs from the nature of an intellect that has originated, as I have shown, for the service of an individual will, that is to say, for attaining the objects thereof. Such an intellect is exclusively concerned with ends and means and consequently neither knows nor conceives anything else at all.

When one looks outwards, where the vastness of the world and the infinitude of its beings display themselves, one's own self as a mere individual shrinks to nothing and seems to vanish. Carried away by this very inunensity of mass and number, one thinks further that only the outward(.y directed, and hence objective, philosophy can be on the right path; it had never even occurred to the oldest Greek philosophers to doubt this. On the other hand, if we look inwards, we find in the first place that every individual takes an immediate interest only in himself; indeed he has his own self n1ore at heart than all else put together. This comes from the fact that he knows directly only himself, but everything else merely indirectly. Now if in addition we consider that conscious and knowing beings are conceivable solely as individuals, but that those without consciousness have only a half-existence, one that is merely mecliate, then all real and true existence comes do\vn to individuals. Finally, we call to mind that the object is conditioned by the subject, that this immeasurable outside world, therefore, has its existence only in the consciousruss of knowing beings. Consequently, this world is so definitely tied to the existence of individuals who are its bearers that it can in this sense be regarded even as a mere equipment, an accident, of the always individual consciousness. If we bear all this in mind, we arrive



at the view that only the inward!;, directed philosophy, starting from the subject as that which is immediately given, and hence the philosophy of the moderns since Descartes, is on the right lines and that the ancients have, therefore, overlooked the main point. But of this we become perfectly convinced only when we descend into and commune with ourselves and bring to our consciousness the feeling of originality which resides in every knowing being. !\1ore than this, everyone, even the most insignificant, finds himself in his sitnple self-consciousness as the most real of all beings and necessarily recognizes in himself the true centre of the world, indeed the primary source of all reality. And could this ultimate consciousness lie? Its most powerful expression is the words of the Upanishad: hae omnes creaturae in to tum ego sum, et praeter me ens aliud non est, et omnia ego creata feci 6 (Oupnek'hat, Pt. 1, p. 122). This of, course, is the transition to illuminism and even mysticism. This, then, is the result of inwardly directed contemplation, whereas the outwardly directed shows us as the goal of our existence a heap of ashes.*

:From my point of view, the following would be of use concerning the division ofphilosophy which is of in1portance especially as regards its exposition. Philosophy, it is true, has as its object experience, but not, like the other branches of knowledge, this or that definite experience. On the contrary, it has just experience itself, generally and as such, according to its possibility, its sphere, its essential content, its inner and outer elements, its form and matter. Consequently, philosophy must certainly have empirical foundations and cannot be spun out of pure abstract concepts, as I have explained at length in the second volun1e of my chief work, chapter I 7, and have a] so given as a brief resume in § 9 • f'iniu and irifiniu are concepts that have significance merely in reference to space and time since both these arc infinite, that is, endless, just as they are infinitely divisible. If we still apply these two concepts to other things, then it must be to such as fill space and time and partake of the qualities thereof. From this it may be gathered how much these two concepts have in the nineteenth century been abused by philosophasters and windbags. 6

['I am all this creation collectively, and besides me there exists no other being.

I have created everything.']



above. From its declared subject-matter, it follows also that the first thing it has to consider must be the medium wherein experience in general presents itself, together with the form and nature of that medium. This is the representation, the mental picture, knowledge, and thus the intellect. Therefore every philosophy has to begin with an investigation of the faculty of knowledge, its forms and laws, and also the validity and limits thereof. Accordingly, such an investigation will be philosophia prima. It is divided into a consideration of primary representations, i.e. representations of intuitive perception, and this part may be called dianoiology or theory of the understanding; and into a coilsideration of secondary representations, i.e. abstract representations, together with the order of their manipulation, and thus logic or the theory of reason [Vernurift]. Now this general part at the same time embraces or rather replaces what was formerly called ontology and was put forward as the doctrine of the most universal and essential properties and qualities of things in general and as such. For one regarded as the properties of things-in-themselves that which belongs to them only in consequence of the form and nature of our representationfaculty, since all beings to be apprehended thereby must exhibit themselves in accordance with its form and nature and in consequence they then bear certain properties or qualities that are common to them all. This is comparable to our attributing the colour of a glass to the objects that are seen through it. The philosophy following on such investigations is then metaphysics in the narrower sense, since it not only makes us acquainted with nature, with what is actually present, and considers the order and sequence thereof, but conceives it as a phenomenon which is given but somehow conditioned and in which an essence or entity manifests itself, such entity being different from the phenomenon itself and accordingly would be the thing-in-itself. Now philosophy in our sense tries to become more closely acquainted with this thing-in-itself. The means to this are par.tly the bringing together of outer and inner experience, partly the arrival at an understanding of the whole phenomenon by discovering its meaning and connection-comparable to the reading of hitherto mysterious characters of an unknowing writing. On this path our philosophy proceeds from the phenomenal appearance to that which appears, to



that which is hidden behind the phenomenon; thus Ta p,ETa Ta ,Pverturbationibu.s organi.smi: ergo remedium medici medetur medelae. ['The illness itself is nature's attempt to kal whereby she comes to the aid of the organism's disorders; hence the remedy of the physician helps the attempt to heal.'-Schopenhauer's own idea in Latin.]There is only one healing power, and this is nature; there is none in pills and ointments. At most, these can prompt nature's healing power where there is something to be done for it. :u

['Everything that is not natural is imperfect.']



gradually effect the cure, after which we then feel better than we did before the illness, or the affected part is stronger than it was previously. We can observe this, conveniently and without risk, in the slight illnesses with which we are often afflicted. I admit that there are exceptions, or cases where only the physician can help; in particular, the cure of syphilis is a triumph of medicine. However, by far the most recoveries are simply the work of nature for which the physician pockets the fee even when, in spite of his efforts, they are successful. The reputation and profits of physicians would be in a bad way if the conclusion cum hoc, ergo propter hoc 2 s were not of such general application. The good patients of physicians regard their bodies as if these were clocks or other kinds of machinery; if anything goes wrong with them, they think that it can be again put right only by a mechanic. But this is not so; for the body is a self-repairing machine. Most of the major and minor disorders that occur are entirely removed automatically by the vis naturae medicatrix. Therefore let us leave this alone, and peu de mldecins, peu de midecine. Sed est medicus consolatio animi. z6

§ 100 I explain in the following way the necessity of the metamorphosis of insects. The metaphysical force underlying the phenomenon of so tiny a c_reature is so small that it cannot simultaneously carry out the different functions of animal life. It must, therefore, divide these up in order successively to fulfil that which with the higher animals takes place simultaneously. It accordingly divides the insect life into two halves; in the first, the larval condition, it manifests itself as the force of reproduction, nourishment, plasticity. The immediate object of this larval life is merely the production of the chrysalis; but as the interior of this is quite fluid, it can be regarded as a second egg from which the futu~e imago will emerge. Thus the whole purpose of the larval life is the preparation of the humours from which the imago can come. In the second half of the insect life, which is separated from the first by that egglike state, the vital force, in itself metaphysical, manifests itself zs ['Since this, therefore because of this.']

['Few doctors, little medicine. But the physician is certainly a consolation of the soul.'] 26



as irritability that is increased a hundredfold, in untiring flight, as greatly enhanced sensibility, in more perfect and often quite new senses, and in marvellous mechanical instincts, but principally as generative function that now appears as the ultimate aim of life. On the other hand, nutrition is greatly diminished and sometimes even suspended altogether, whereby life has assumed a wholly ethereal character. And so this complete change and separation of the functions of life exhibit to a certain extent two animals that live successively and whose extremely varied form is in keeping with the difference of their functions. What it unites is the egg-like state of the chrysalis, the preparation of whose contents and substance was the purpose of the first animal's life. Now the predominantly plastic powers of this animal do the final thing in this chrysalis state by producing the second form ..And so nature, or rather the metaphysical element underlying her, carries out in two stages with these animals that which would be too much for her in one; she divides her work. Accordingly, we see that metamorphosis is most complete where the separation of the functions appears to be most definite, for instance in the case of the Iepidoptera. Thus many caterpillars eat in a day twice their own weight of food; many butterflies, on the other hand, and also many other insects, eat nothing at all in the fully developed state, for example, the butterfly of the silkworm, and many others. Metamorphosis is incomplete, on the other hand, in the case of those insects where nutrition proceeds apace, even in the fully developed state, for instance in the case of crickets, locusts, bugs, and others.

§ 101 The phosphorescent light in the sea which is peculiar to almost all gelatinous radiata (radiares mollasses), like the illumination of phosphorus itself, springs possibly from a slow process of combustion. In fact, the breathing of vertebrate animals is such a process which is replaced by that illumination as a respiration with the entire surface. Accordingly, it is a slow external combustion, just as the other is internal. Or possibly here too an internal combustion takes place whose luminous development becomes externally visible merely by virtue of the complete transparency of all these gelatinous animals. Here



one could also boldly conjecture that all breathing with lungs or gills is accompanied by a phosphorescence and consequently that the interior of a living thorax is illuminated.

§ 102 If there were not objectively a quite definite distinction between plant and animal, the question as to what constituted this difference would have no meaning. For it would merely like to see reduced to clear concepts this difference which is understood by everyone with certainty yet without clearness. I have mentioned it in my Ethics, 'Freedom of the Will', Pt. m, and in the essay On the Principle of Sufficient Reason, § 20. The different animal forms, wherein the will-to-live manifests itself, are related to one another as is the same idea that is expressed in different languages and in accordance with the spirit of each; and the various species of a genus may be regarded as a number of variations on the same theme. More closely considered, however, that diversity of animal forms can be deduced from the different mode of life of each species and the difference of aims arising out of this. This has been specially discussed in my essay On the Will in Nature, in the chapter 'Comparative Anatomy'. On the other hand, we cannot by any means state so definitely in particular the reasons for the variety of plant forms. I have indicated in a general way in my chief work, volume i, §. 28, how far we are able to do this approximately. There is, moreover, the fact that we can teleologically explain something in plants, as for instance the blossoms of the fuchsia which hang downwards. This is because their pistil is very much longer than the stamens and so that position favours the falling and gathering of the pollen. Generally speaking, however, it may be said that in the objective world, in the representation of intuitive perception, nothing can manifest itself at all which does not have in the essence of things-inthemselves and thus in the will that underlies the phenomenon, a tendency that is precisely modified to suit. For the world as representation can furnish nothing from its own resources; but for this very reason it cannot serve up any fanciful or frivolously invented fairy-tale. The infinite variety of the forms and even colourings of plants and their blossoms must yet be everywhere the expression of a subjective essence that is just as modified; in



other words, the will as thing-in-itself which manifests itself in them, must be exactly reflected through them. For the same metaphysical reason and because the human individual's body is only the visibility of his individual will and so objectively presents this, but even his intellect or brain, as being the phenon1enal appearance of his will-to-know, belongs to that same will, it must really be possible to understand and deduce not only the nature of his intellect from that of his brain and from the blood-flow that excites this, but also the whole of his moral character with all its traits and peculiarities from the more specific nature of all the rest of his corporization, thus from the texture, size, quality, and mutual relation of · heart, liver, lungs, spleen, kidneys, and so on, although, of course, we shall never succeed in actually achieving this. But the possibility of doing this must exist objectively.* The following consideration may serve as a transition to this. Not only do the passions affect the different parts of the body (see World as Will and Representation, vol. ii, chap. 20); but conversely, the individual state or condition of the separate organs excites the passions and even the representations or mental pictures connected therewith. When the vesiculae seminales have a periodical excess of sperm, lewd and obscene ideas continually arise without any particular cause. We naturally think that the reason for this is purely psychic, a perverse tendency of our thoughts; but it is purely physical and ceases as soon as the above-mentioned excess is over, through the reabsorption of the sperm into the blood. Sometimes we are inclined to be angry and annoyed and to quarrel, and seriously look for the causes of this. If we find no external cause, we conjure up in our thoughts some long-forgotten annoyance in order to fret and fume over this. It is highly probable that this state is the result of an excess of bile. Sometimes we are inwardly worried and anxious without any cause and the condition persists; in our thoughts we look for objects of fear and disquietude, and readily imagine we have found them. In English they have the expression 'to catch blue devils'; 27 its source is probably the intestines, and so on.

* Compare § 63. 27

[Schopt"nhauer's own English.]


On the Theory of Colours § 103 As the indifference of my contemporaries could not possibly shake my firm belief in the truth and importance of my theory of colour, I wrote and published it twice, in German in 1816 and in Latin in 1 8go in the third volume of the Scriptores ophthalmologici minores of J. Radius. As, however, this total lack of interest leaves me little hope, at my age, of living to see a second edition of these essays, I will here note down the few remarks I still have to make on the subject. Whoever undertakes to discover the cause of a given effect will, if he goes to work in the proper way, begin by thoroughly investigating the effect itself, as the data for discovering the cause can be drawn only from the effect and this alone gives the direction and clue to his discovery of the cause. Nevertheless, this has not been done by any of those who prior to me enunciated theories of colour. It was not only Newton who proceeded to look for the cause without having any precise knowledge of the effect to be explained, but his predecessors had also done the same thing. Even Goethe, who examined and explained the effect, the given phenomenon, the sensation in the eye, certainly much more thoroughly than did the others, still did not go far enough in this direction, otherwise he could not have failed to light upon my truths which are the root of all theory of colour and contain the grounds and basis of his own. Thus I cannot except even him when I say that all prior to me, from the most ancient to the most modern times, were concerned only with investigating what modification either the surface of a body or light must undergo, whether through analysis into its component parts or through cloudiness or other obscuration, in order to exhibit colour, in other words, to stimulate in our eye that thoroughly characteristic and specific sensation which cannot be defined at all, but can be demonstrated only through the senses. But instead of this, the correct and methodical way is



obviously to turn first to this sensation to see whether we may not be able to find out from its more specific nature and from the conformity to law of its phenomena, what here takes place physiologically. For in the first place, we have a thorough and precise knowledge of the effect as that which is given. In any case, this must also furnish the data for investigating the cause as that which is sought, in other words, the external stimulus here which acts on our eye and produces that physiological occurrence. Thus for every possible modification of a given effect, it must be possible to demonstrate a modifiability of its cause exactly corresponding to that effect. Further, where the modifications of the effect are not separated from one another by sharp lines of demarcation, such lines should not be drawn in the cause; but here too the same gradualness of the transitions must take place. Finally, where the effect shows contrasts, that is, admits of a complete reversal of its mode and manner, then the conditions for this must also lie in the nature of the assumed cause, and so on. The application of these general principles to the theory of colour can easily be made. Everyone acquainted with the facts will at once see that my theory which considers colour only in itself, in other words, as a given specific sensation in the eye, already furnishes data a priori for judging the theories of Newton and Goethe concerning the objective aspect of colour, or the external causes that stimulate such a sensation in the eye. But on closer examination, he will find that, from the standpoint of my theory, everything is in favour of Goethe's and against Newton's. To give here to those acquainted with the facts just one proof of what has been said, I will explain in a few words how the correctness of Goethe's primary physical phenomenon already follows a priori from my physiological theory. If colour in itself, that is to say, in the eye, is the qualitatively halved, and thus only partially stimulated, nervous activity of the retina, then its external cause must be a diminished light, yet one that is diminished in quite a special way. This cause must have the peculiar quality of imparting to every colour precisely as much light as it does darkness or cloudiness (CTKL€pOV) to the physiological opposite and complement of that colour. But this can happen in a sure and certain way that satisfies all cases only if the cause of the brightness in a given colour is precisely the cause



of what is shady or dark in the complement of that colour. Now this requirement is perfectly satisfied by the partition of opacity that is inserted between light and darkness, since, under opposite illumination, it always produces two colours which are physiologically complementary and turn out differently according to the degree of thickness and density of this opacity. Together, however, they will always make up white, that is, the full activity of the retina. Accordingly, with the maximum tenuity of opacity, these colours will be yellow and violet; with increasing density, they will change into orange and blue; and finally, with still greater density, they become red and green. This last, however, cannot really be demonstrated in this simple way, although the sky at sunset feebly exhibits it. Finally, if the opacity is complete, that is to say, becomes so dense as to be impervious to light, then, with light falling on it, white appears and with light placed behind it, we have darkness or black. This method of considering the problem will be found discussed in detail in §1 1 of my Latin essay on the theory of colours. It is clear from this that, if Goethe had himself discovered my physiological colour theory which is fundamental and essential, in it he would have had a solid support for his basic physical view. Moreover, he would not have fallen into the error of absolutely denying the possibility to produce white from colours, a fact that is testified by experience, although always in the sense of my theory, never in that of Newton's. But although Goethe had made a most complete collection of the materials for the physiological theory of colours, it was not granted to him to discover the theory itself, which, however, as something fundamental, is really the main point. Yet this can be explained from the nature of his mind; thus for this he was too objective. Madame George Sand is reported as having said somewhere: chacun a les difauts de ses vertus. 1 It is precisely the astonishing objectivity of his mind, everywhere stamping his works with the mark of genius, which stood in his way where it was of value and prevented him from going back to the subject, in this case the perceiving eye itself, in order to seize here the final threads on which hangs the whole phenomenon of the world of colour. On the other hand, coming from Kant's school, I was prepared • ['Everyone has the failings of his virtues.']



and trained for satisfying this demand in the best way. And so a year after withdrawing from Goethe's personal influence, I was able to discover the true, fundamental, and irrefutable theory of colour. Goethe's propensity was for understanding and interpreting everything purely objectively; but with this he was then conscious of having done his part and was quite incapable of seeing beyond this. Thus in his theory of colours we sometimes find a mere description where we expect an explanation. And so the last attainable thing here seemed to him to be a correct and complete explanation of the objective course of events. Accordingly, the most general and important truth of his whole theory of colours is a plain objective fact that he himself quite rightly calls primat)' phenomenon. With this he regarded everything as done; a correct 'thus it is' was for him always the final goal; he had no craving for a 'thus it must be'. Indeed he could even scoff: Then, the philosopher steps in And shows, no otherwise it could have been. 2

Now instead of this, he was of course just a poet and not a philosopher; that is to say, he was not animated by, or possessed of, an ambition to get to the ultimate grounds and innermost relation and connection of things in the way we wish. But for this very reason, he had to leave me the best harvest as gleanings, for the most important information and explanation in regard ·to the essential nature of colour, the ultimate satisfaction and the key to all that Goethe teaches, arc to be found alone in my work. Accordingly, after I have deduced, as briefly mentioned, his primary phenomenon from my theory, it no longer merits this name. For it is not, as he assumed, something absolutely given and for ever withdrawn from all explanation; on the contrary, it is only the cause, such as is required in consequence of my theory, for producing the effect and thus for halving the activity of the retina. The only primary phenomenon in the proper sense is that organic ability of the retina to let its nervous activity appear in two qualitatively opposite halves, sometimes equal and sometimes unequal, and to throw them successively into relief. Here, of course, we must stop, since from this point ;z;

[Faust, Pt.


Bayard Taylor's translation.]



at best only final causes can be seen, just as in physiology we generally come across this. And so possibly through colour we have one more method of distinguishing and recognizing things. In addition, my theory of colours has over all others the great advantage of giving an account of the peculiar nature of the impression of every colour and of making this known to us as a definite numerical fraction of the retina's full activity, which is then either + or -. In this way, we learn to understand the specific difference of colours and the peculiar nature of each. Newton's theory, on the other hand, leaves entirely unexplained that specific difference and peculiar effect of each colour, since, according to it, colour is just a qualitas occulta (colori.fica) J of the seven homogeneous lights. Accordingly, it gives each of these seven colours a name and then leaves it at that; and Goethe, on his part, is content to divide colours into warm and cold, leaving the rest to his aesthetic observations. Therefore only in my work do we obtain between the true nature of every colour and its sensation a connection which has hitherto always been missed. Finally, for my theory of colours I may claim yet another peculiar though superficial advantage. Thus with all newly discovered truths, possibly without exception, it is soon found that something very similar has already been said and that it required only a single step in order to reach them. Indeed, it is even found sometin1es that the truth had been positively expressed, yet had escaped notice because such expression had been made without emphasis. For the author himself had not recognized its value and grasped how rich in results it would be, a circumstance that prevented him from properly working it out. In such cases, therefore, one had, if not the plant, at any rate the seed. Now my colour theory is a fortunate exception to this. Never has it occurred to anyone anywhere to regard colour, this really objective phenomenon, as the retina's halved activity and accordingly to assign to each individual colour its definite numerical fraction that makes up unity with the fraction of another colour, such unity representing white. Indeed, these fractions are so positively obvious, that Professor Rosas who wanted to claim them as his own, introduced them as absolutely 3

['An occult (colour-stimulating) quality'.]


self-evident in his Handbuch der Augenheilkunde, volume i, § 535, and also p. 308. But the obvious correctness of the fractions laid down by me is certainly very useful for the facts of the case, for in spite of all their certainty, it would nevertheless be difficult really to establish them. It might perhaps be effected in the following way. Let us procure perfectly black and perfectly white sands and mix them in six proportions, each exactly corresponding in darkness to one of the six principal colours. The result must then be that the ratio of black sand to white in the case of each colour corresponds to the numerical fraction I have assigned to that colour. For example, if we were to take three parts of white sand and one of black to form a grey corresponding in darkness to yellow, then a grey corresponding to violet would require a mixture of the two sands in exactly the opposite proportion; green and red, on the other hand, would require equal proportions of the two sands. However, the difficulty arises here of determining which grey corresponds in darkness to each colour. This could be decided by our observing the colour close to the grey through a prism in order to see what relation of brightness to darkness each bears to the other in refraction. If in this respect they are both alike, then the refraction cannot possibly give any colour phenomenon. Our test of the purity of a given colour, whether for example this particular yellow is exactly so, or has a tinge of green, or even of orange, has reference to the precise accuracy of the fraction that is expressed by that colour. But the fact that we are able to judge this purely arithmetical relation from mere feeling is proved by music whose harmony rests on the much greater and more complex numerical relations of simultaneous vibrations, but whose tones we judge extremely accurately, and yet arithmetically, purely by ear. Just as the seven tones of the scale are distinguished from countless others that are possibly to be found between them through the rational nature of their vibration numbers, so also are the six colours that are given names of their own distinguished from countless others lying between them merely by the rational and simple nature of the fraction of the retina's activity which manifests itself in them. Just as I test the accuracy of a tone, when tuning an instrument, by striking its fifth or octave, so do I test the purity of any given


colour by producing its physiological spectrum whose colour is often easier to judge than is the given colour itself. Thus, for example, I have inferred that the green of grass has a marked tinge of yellow merely from the fact that the red of its spectrum has a strong touch of violet.

§ 104 After Buffon had discovered the phenomenon of physiological colours on which the whole of my theory is based, it was interpreted and explained by Father Scherffer in his Abhandlung von den ;:;ufiilligen Farben, Vienna, 1765, in accordance with the Newtonian theory. As this explanation of the facts is found repeated in many works and even in Cuvier's Anatomie comparee (le~. 12, art. 1 ), I will here expressly refute it and indeed reduce it ad absurdum. It starts by saying that, fatigued by a long contemplation of a colour, the eye loses its susceptibility to homogeneous light-rays of this kind. It then experiences a sensation of white that is afterwards intuitively perceived only to the exclusion of just those homogeneous rays of colour. And so the eye no longer sees this as white, but experiences instead a product of the other six homogeneous rays which, together with that first colour, constitute white; and hence this product is now said to be the colour that. appears as a physiological spectrum. But now ex suppositis4 this explanation of the facts can be seen to be absurd. For after looking at violet, the eye perceives on a white (or better still grey) surface a yellow spectrum. Now this yellow had to be the product of the other six homogeneous lights that remained after the separation of violet; and so had to be composed ofred, orange, yellow, green, blue, and indigo; a fine mixture for obtaining yellow! These will give a muddy sort of colour and nothing else. 1-foreover, if yellow is itself a homogeneous light, how could it then be the result of that mixture? But by itself alone one homogeneous light is absolutely the required colour of the other, such colour following it physiologically as spectru!Il, just as yellow is of violet, blue of orange, red of green, and vice versa; this simple fact already overthrows Scherffer's explanation; for it shows that what the eye sees on 4

['From the assumptions'; 'from the premisses'.]


the white surface after looking continuously at a colour is anything but a combination of the six remaining homogeneous lights; on the contrary, it is always only one of them, for example yellow, after violet has been intuitively perceived. Besides, there are many other facts that are at variance with Scherffer's explanation. For example at the very outset, it is not true that, by continuously looking at the first colour, the eye becomes insensitive thereto, and indeed to the extent of being no longer able to perceive it afterwards even in the white. For it sees that first colour quite distinctly up to the very moment when it turns therefrom to the white. Further, it is well known from experience that we see physiological colours most distinctly and easily early in the morning immediately after we have woken up. But it is just at that time, as the result of a long rest, that the eye is at its maximum strength and is, therefore, least likely to become fatigued through continuously looking for several seconds at a colour and to become duli and deadened to the point of being insensitive thereto. Moreover, there is the awkward fact that, to see physiological colours, we certahlly do not need to look at a white surface; for this any colourless surface is suitable, a grey one being the best, but even a black will do. In fact, we see the physiological colour even with our eyes shut! Buffon had already stated this and Scherffer himself admits it in § I 7 of his above-mentioned work. Now here we have a case where, as soon as a false theory has reached a definite point, nature stands right in its path and gives it the lie. It is here that Scherffer becomes very nonplussed and admits to finding the greatest difficulty. Yet instead of being puzzled at his theory which can never be consistent, he seizes on all kinds of wretched and absurd hypotheses, wriggles pathetically, and ultimately drops the matter. I will here mention yet another fact that is only rarely observed because it too furnishes an argument against Scherffer's theory in that according to this it is absolutely unintelligible; but also because it deserves to be shown by a special brief discussion to be consistent with my theory. Thus if there are on a large coloured surface some smaller colourless spots, these will no longer remain colourless when the physiological spectrum that is required by the coloured surface subsequently appears. On the contrary, they will appear in the colour of the


whole surface which existed in the first instance, although they have not been in any way affected by its complement. For example, from looking at a green wall with small grey windows, there follows, as spectrum, a red wall with green not grey windows. According to my theory, we have to explain this by saying that, after a definite qualitative half of its activity was brought about on the whole of the retina by the coloured surface, some small spots were nevertheless excluded from that excitation. With the cessation of the external stimulus, the complement of that half of the retina's activity which was excited by it, subsequently appears as spectrum. The spots that were excluded from that stimulus then take over in sympathy that qualitative half of the retina's activity which existed in the first instance. For now they imitate, as it were, what was done previously by the whole of the remaining part of the retina, whereas they alone were excluded from this by the failure of the stimulus to appear in their case. Consequently, they afterwards went through the exercise, so to speak. Finally, if anyone wishes to raise a difficulty by saying that, when we look at a multicoloured surface, the retina's activity is, according to my theory, distributed simultaneously in a hundred places in very different proportions, let him reflect that, when we listen to the harmony of a large orchestra, or to the rapid runs of a virtuoso, the ear.-drum and auditory nerve are moved now in simultaneous vibrations and then in those that most rapidly succeed one another, according to different numerical ratios. The intelligence arithmetically grasps and assesses all these; it receives the aesthetic effect from them and at once notices every deviation from the mathematical accuracy of a tone. He will then see that I have not credited with too much the far more perfect sense of sight.

§ 105 It is only through my theory that full justice has been done to the essentially subjective nature of colour, although the sense of this is already expressed in the old proverb des gouts et des couleurs il ne faut disputer.s But what Kant says about aesthetic judgement or the judgement of taste here applies to colour, s ['One must not argue about tastes and colours.']



namely that it is indeed only subjective and yet, like one that is objective, claims to receive the assent of all those who are normally constituted. If we did not have a subjective anticipation of the six principal colours which gives us an a priori standard for them, we should have no judgement concerning the purity of a given colour; for its designation would then be merely conventional through a name of its own, as is actually the case with many fashionable colours. Accordingly, we should be incapable of understanding many things, for instance what Goethe says of true red, that it is the red of carmine, not the ordinary scarlet that is yellowish-red; whereas this is now very easy for us to understand and is then clear to all. To this essentially subjective nature of colour is ultimately due the extreme readiness with which chemical colours change. Sometimes this goes so far that only an exceedingly small change, or one that cannot even be detected, in the properties of the object in which the colour is inherent, corresponds to a total change of that colour. For example, sulphide of mercury obtained by fusing together mercury and sulphur is black (just as is a similar combination of lead with sulphur). Only after it has been sublimated, does it assume the well-known fiery-red colour; and yet through this sublimation it is not possible to detect a chemical change. Red mercuric oxide, when merely warmed, becomes dark brown and yellow nitrate of n1ercury becomes red. A well-known Chinese cosmetic comes to us on little pieces of pasteboard and is then dark green; when touched with a wet finger, it instantly turns to a bright red. Even the turning red of crabs through boiling is relevant to the point in question; also the sudden turning of many leaves from green to red at the first frost, and the turning red of apples on the side that gets the sunlight. This is attributed to a more vigorous deoxidation of that side in the same way that some plants have the stem and the whole framework of the leaf in bright red, but the parenchyma in green; also in general the diversity of colours of many petals. In other cases, we can show the chemical difference that is indicated by the colour to be very small, for example when tincture of litmus or violets changes colour through the slightest trace of oxidation or alkalization. In all this, we now see that, in the chemical sense, the eye is the most sensitive reagent, for it instantly shows us not only the smallest


traceable changes of the mixture, but even those that no other reagent can indicate. On this incomparable sensitiveness of the eye depends generally the possibility of chemical colours, which in itself is still wholly unexplained. Through Goethe, on the other hand, we have at last arrived at a correct insight into physical colours, despite the fact that Newton's much advertised and false theory rendered this more difficult. Physical colours are related to chemical exactly as magnetism that is produced by galvanic apparatus, and is to that extent intelligible from its immediate cause, is to the magnetism that is fixed in steel and iron ores. The former gives a temporary magnetism which lasts only through a complex set of circumstances and ceases to exist as soon as these disappear; the latter, on the other hand, is inherent in a body, unalterable, and till now unexplained. It is just bewitched, like an enchanted prince. Now the same holds good of the chemical colour of a body.

§ 106 In my theory I have shown that even the production of white from colours rests exclusively on a ph]•siological basis, since it occurs only by the fact that a pair of colours and hence two which are complementary, in other words, two into which the retina's activity is halved and separated, are again brought together. Now this can happen only if the two external causes that stimulate in the eye each of the two colours act simultaneously on one and the same spot of the retina. I have mentioned several ways of bringing this about; the easiest and simplest is when we allow the violet of the prismatic spectrum to fall on yellow paper. But in so far as we will not rest content with merely prismatic colours, we shall succeed best by uniting a transparent with a reflected colour, for example by allowing light to fall through a reddish-yellow glass on to a mirror of blue glass. The expression 'complementary colours' has truth and meaning only in so far as it is understood in the physiological sense; otherwise it has none at all. Goethe has wrongly denied the possibility of producing white from colours generally; but this was because Newton had stated it from a false argument and in a false sense. If it were true in the Newtonian sense, or if Newton's theory in general were correct, then, in the first place, every combination of two of the



fundamental colours assumed by him would inevitably give us at once a colour brighter than each of them separately, since the combination of two homogeneous parts of the white light that is divided into these would already be a step back towards the restoration of that white light. But this is not for one moment the case. Thus if we bring together in pairs the three colours which are fundamental in the chemical sense and of which all the rest are composed, then blue and red give us violet that is darker than either of these; blue and yellow give green that is indeed much darker than the latter, although it is somewhat brighter than the former; yellow and red give orange that is brighter than the latter but darker than the former. Already one sees here a really adequate refutation of Newton's theory. But the real, effective, conclusive, and inescapable refutation thereof is the achromatic refractor; and precisely on this account Newton very consistently regarded such a thing as impossible. Thus if white light consists of seven kinds of light each of which has a different colour and at the same time a different refrangibility, then the degree of refraction and the colour of the light are of necessity inseparably associated. Thus where light is refracted, it must also appear coloured, however much the refraction be varied and complicated and drawn apart; only so long as not all the seven rays are again completely brought together into a heap and thus, according to Newton's theory, white is recomposed, all effect of refraction then at the same time being ended and so everything again back in its place. Now when the invention of achromatism revealed the very opposite of this result, the Newtonians in their embarrassment seized on an explanation that, with Goethe, we feel tempted to regard as senseless verbiage; for with the best will in the world, it is very difficult to attribute to it even an intelligible meaning, that is, something that can to a certain extent be represented in intuitive perception. Thus besides the colour-refraction, there is said to occur a colour-dispersion different therefrom; and by this is to be understood the distance of the separate coloured lights from one another, their dispersion, which is the most direct cause of the lengthening of the spectrum. But ex hypothesi 6 this is the e.ffecl of the different fl

['According to the assumption 1. ]


refrangibility of those coloured rays. Now if this so-called dispersion, that is, the lengthening of the spectrum and thus of the sun's image after refraction, is due to the fact that light consists of different coloured lights each of which has by its nature a different refrangibility, in other words, is refracted at a different angle, then this definite refrangibility of each light must always and everywhere adhere to it as an essential quality. Therefore the separate homogeneous light must be refracted always in the same way just as it is coloured always in the same way. For Newton's homogeneous light-ray and its colour are absolutely one and the same; it is simply a coloured ray and nothing else. Hence where there is a light-ray, there also is its colour; and where there is colour, there too is its ray. If ex hypotlusi it lies in the nature of every such differently coloured ray to be refracted at a different angle, then its colour will also accompany it into this and every angle; consequently the different colours must make their appearance at every refraction. And so to attribute any meaning and sense to the Newtonians' favourite explanation that 'two different kinds of refracting medium can refract light with equal intensity but disperse colours in a different degree', we must assume that, while crown-glass and flint-glass refract light as a whole and thus white light with equal intensity, yet the parts whereof this very whole through and through consists are refracted differently by flint-glass from the way in which they are by crownglass and thus alter their refrangibility. A hard nut to crack! Moreover, they must change their refrangibility in such a way that, with the use of flint-glass, the most refrangible rays acquire an even greater refrangibility, whereas the least refrangible assume one that is even smaller; and therefore that this flintglass increases the refrangibility of certain rays and at the same time diminishes that of certain others and that nevertheless the whole, which consists of these rays alone, retains its previous refrangibility. Despite all this, that dogma, which is so difficult to understand, is still held in universal esteem and respect; and even at the present day we can see frmn the optical writings of all nations how seriously people speak of the difference between refraction and dispersion. Now let us return to truth! The immediate and essential cause of the achromatism that is brought about by means of the combination of the convex



lens from crown-glass, and of the concave lens from flint-glass, is without doubt entirely physiological. Thus it is the production of the retina's full activity on those places that are affected by physical colours, since here two colours, certainly not seven, namely two which together make up that activity, are brought on to each other; and so a pair of colours is again united. Objectively or physically this is brought about in the following way. Through a refraction that occurs twice in the opposite sense (by means of concave and convex lenses), there results the opposite colour-phenomenon, namely a yellowish-red border with yellow fringe, on the one hand, and a blue border with violet fringe, on the other. But this refraction, occurring twice in the opposite sense, at the same time brings those two coloured margins over each other in such a way that the blue border covers the yellowish-red, and the violet fringe the yellow; and so these two physiological pairs of colours, namely one of t and ! and the other of-! and t of the retina's full activity, are again united; consequently, colourlessness or achromatism is also re-established. This, then, is the direct cause of achromatism. But what is the remoter cause? Thus as the required dioptric result, namely a surplus of refraction that remains colourless, is brought about by the fact that the flint-glass, acting in the opposite sense, is able to neutralize with a considerably smaller refraction the colour-phenomenon of the crown-glass through an. opposite phenomenon that is just as broad, since its own colour borders and fringes are originally considerably broader than those of the crown-glass, the question then arises how it is that two different kinds of refracting media with equal refraction give us such a very different width of colour-phenomenon. A very adequate account of this can be given according to Goethe's theory, if we go into this more fully and thus more clearly than did he himself. His deduction of the prismatic colour-phenomenon from his first principle that he calls primary phenomenon, is perfectly correct. The only thing is that he did not go far enough into details, whereas without a certain amount of precise examination, it is impossible to do justice to such things. He quite correctly explains the coloured border-phenomenon that accompanies refraction from a secondary image accompanying the main one that is displaced



by refraction. But he did not specifically state the position and mode of acting of this secondary image and did not make this clear by a sketch. In fact, he speaks throughout of only one secondary image and the result is that we have to assume that not merely the light or luminous image, but also the darkness surrounding it undergoes a refraction. I must, therefore, supplement his facts in order to show how that varied breadth of the coloured border-phenomenon really arises with equal refraction but different refracting substances, a phenomenon that the Newtonians describe by the senseless expression of a difference of refraction and dispersion. First of all, a word or two on the origin of these secondary images that accompany the main image during refraction. JVatura non facit saltus; 7 this is the law of the continuity of all changes by virtue of which no transition in nature occurs suddenly and abruptly whether in space, or time, or in the degree of any quality or property. Now when light enters and again emerges from a prism, it is twice diverted suddenly from its straight path. Are we then to assume that this occurs with such abruptness and sharpness that the light does not suffer even the slightest blending with the surrounding darkness, but, wheeling right across this at large angles, preserves its edges most distinctly and sharply, so that it emerges with unalloyed purity and remains wholly intact? Is it not more natural to assume that, in the first as well as the second refraction, a very small part of this mass of light does not take up the new alignment rapidly enough and so becomes somewhat detached and now, as it were, remembering as an afterthought the path just forsaken, accompanies the main image as a secondary one that floats somewhat over it after one refraction and somewhat under it after the other? In fact in this connection, we could think of the polarization of light by means of a mirror that reflects back one part of it and lets through another. The following figure shows more particularly how, in accordance with Goethe's fundamental law, the four prismatic colours arise from the effect of those two secondary images that fall off with prismatic refraction. It is those four colours alone and not seven that really exist. 7

['Nature makes no jumps.' (Law of continuity ftnt laid down by Aristotle.)]



-- - -.... --Violet .... ·~··-











/ /

------ - ... ·b

/ I



' '


' I


,t, \


-- ---Yellow

' \


/ /




I I / /


Yellowish-red '



-... --- -

/ / /


This figure represents a disc of white paper, some four inches in diameter, stuck on to a dull black paper, as it appears in nature and not according to Newtonian fictions, when looked at through a prism at a distance of about three yards. Now anyone who wants to know what we are talking about must convince himself of this by personal inspection. By holding the prism in front of his eyes and first approaching and then moving away from the disc, he will almost immediately perceive the two secondary images. He will see how they follow his movements and deviate more or less from the main image, and how they shift over each other. Prismatic experiments generally may be made in two different ways; either so that refraction precedes reflection, or vice versa. The former happens when the sun's image passes through the prism on to the wall; the latter occurs when we look at a white image through a prism. This n1ethod is not only less troublesome to carry out, but also shows much more clearly the actual phenomenon because here the effect of refraction directly reacht$ the eye. Thus we have the advantage of receiving the effect at first hand, whereas with the other method we obtain it only at second hand, after reflection from the wall has occurred. A second advantage is that the light comes from an object that is close to us, sharply defined, and not dazzling. Therefore the white disc here described shows quite distinctly the two secondary images which accompany it and which have been brought about by a refraction that occurs twice and shifts it upwards. The secondary image, resulting



from the first refraction that occurs when the light enters the prism, trails behind and therefore remains with its extreme edge in darkness and covered thereby. The other secondary image, however, resulting with the second refraction and thus when the light emerges from the prism, moves forward rapidly and thus is drawn over the darkness. But the manner of acting of both extends, although more feebly, to that part of the main image which is weakened by their loss; and so only that part of it which remains covered by both secondary images and thus retains its full light, appears white. On the other hand, where one secondary image alone contends with the darkness, or the main image that is somewhat weakened by the loss of this secondary image is already impaired by the darkness, colours result, and moreover in accordance with Goethe's law. Consequently, we see violet occur on the upper part where one secondary image alone advancing rapidly is drawn over the black surface; but under it we see blue where the main image, nevertheless weakened by the loss, is operating. On the lower part of the image, however, where the individual secondary image remains in darkness, yellowish-red appears; but over this we have yellow where the weakened main image already shines through. In the same way, the rising sun, at first covered by the denser lower atmosphere, appears yellowish-red and is yellow only when it has reached the more rarefied atmosphere. Now if we have really grasped and understood this, we shall not find it difficult to see, at any rate in a general way, why with the same refraction of light some refracting media, like flintglass, give the phenomenon of a wider coloured edge, whilst others, like crown-glass, give one that is narrower; or, in the language of the Newtonians, what gives rise to the lack of uniformity in light refraction and colour dispersion. Thus refraction is the distance of the main image from its line of incidence; dispersion, on the other hand, is the distance of the two secondary images from the main image which occurs here. But now we find this accidental property existing in varying degrees in different kinds of light-refracting substances. Accordingly, two transparent bodies can have the same power of refraction; in other words, the image passing through them is deflected an equal amount from its line of incidence. Nevertheless, the secondary images that cause the colour-phenomenon,




may deviate from the main image more with refraction through one body than with that through another. Now to compare this account of the facts with the Newtonian explanation of the phenomenon which has been so often repeated and is analysed above, I select the expression of the latter which is given in the following words in the Miinchner Gelehrte An;:;eigen of 27 October I 836, after the philosophical transactions: 'Different transparent substances refract the various homogeneous lights in very unequal proportion; s so that the spectrum produced by different refracting media, and moreover in similar circumstances, acquires a very different extension.' If the lengthening of the spectrum were the result of the unequal refrangibility of the homogeneous lights themselves, it would necessarily have proved to be everywhere in accordance with the degree of refraction. Therefore only in consequence of the greater refractive power of a medium could there arise a greater lengthening of the image. Now if this is not the case, but of two media having equal refractive power, one gives a longer and the other a shorter spectrum, this proves that the lengthening of the spectrum is not the direct effect of refraction, but merely that of an accident accompanying refraction. Now the secondary images here arising are such an accident; these may very well deviate more or less from the main image with equal refraction, according to the nature of the refracting substance. Ought we not to suppose that considerations of this sort would inevitably open the eyes of the Newtonians? We should indeed, if we did not yet know how great and formidable is the influence which is exercised on branches of knowledge and in fact on all intellectual attainments by the will, that is, by tendencies and inclinations and, to speak more precisely, by evil tendencies. In 1840 Eastlake, the English painter and Keeper of the National Gallery, produced such an excellent translation of Goethe's colour theory that it was a perfect reproduction of the original; it can be read and in fact understood more easily than the original. We must now see how Brewster reacts to it when writing a criticism of it in the Edinburgh Review. His behaviour is not unlike that of a tigress Yet the sum of these, namely white light, in equal proportion ! I add this as a supplement. 8



into whose lair a man enters for the purpose of seizing her cubs. Is this like the tone of calm and certain conviction in face of a great man's error? On the contrary, it is the tone of an intellectual bad conscience which suspects with alarm that the other party is right and is resolved to defend, ·rni~ Kat >..&~, 9 now as a national possession the pseudo-science that is thoughtlessly accepted without investigation. By adhering to it, one is already compromised. And so if Newton's colour theory is regarded by Englishmen as a national affair, a good French translation of Goethe's work would be highly desirable; for we may certainly hope to see justice done by the French learned world who to this extent are neutral, although even here there are sometimes amusing instances of their partiality for the Newtonian colour theory. For example, in the Journal des savans, April 1836, Biot relates with cordial approbation how Arago prepared very cunning experiments in order to ascertain whether the seven homogeneous lights do have perhaps an unequal velocity of propagation, so that from the variable fixed stars that are now nearer, now more distant, red or violet light arrives first and thus the star appears to assume different colours in succession. But fortunatelv• in the end he had discovered that this was not so . Sancta simplicitas! 10 A pretty exhibition is given also by M. Becquerel who in a memoire presente a l'academie des sciences, 13 June 1842, chants afresh the same old tune as if it were something new : si l' on rifracte un faisceau (sic) de rayons so/aires a travers un prisme de flint-glass, et qu' on refoive sur un carton blanc l'image oblongue rifracUe, on distingue ASSEZ JVETTEl. 1ENT (here is a qualm of conscience) sept sortes de couleurs, ou sept parties de l' image qui sont colorees chacune a peu pres de [a meme teinte: ces couleurs sont: le rouge, l' orange, le jaune, le vert, le bleu, ['indigo (this mixture of i black with ! blue is said to be found in light!) et le violet; cette derniere etant celle des rayons les plus rifrangibles. II As M. Becquerel still has the effrontery to chant so fearlessly and ('Tooth and nail'.] ['Sacred simplicity'. (Said to have been uttered by Johann Hus at the stake as a peasant in blind belief cast a piece of wood into the flames.)] 11 ['If we refract a pencil of solar rays through a prism of flint-glass and receive on a white card the oblong refracted image, we distinguish clearly eMugh seven kinds of colours or seven parts of the image each of which is coloured with approximately the same tint. These colours are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet; the last being that of the most refrangible rays.' 9



frankly this piece from the Newtonian credo thirty-two years after the appearance of Goethe's colour theory, we might feel tempted to declare to him assn:. nettement: 'Either you are blind or are lying.' But then we should be doing him an injustice, for it is merely a case ofM. Becquerel preferring to believe Newton rather than the evidence of his own two eyes. This is the effect of Newtonian superstition. But so far as the Germans are concerned, their judgement of Goethe's colour theory is in keeping with the expectations we must have from a nation that could for thirty years praise Hegel as the greatest of all thinkers and sages, that scribbler of nonsense and absolutely hollow philosophaster, who is devoid of mind and merit. In fact, they all join in the chorus to such an extent that the whole of Europe echoes with the noise. I know quite well that desipere est Juris gentium, 12 in other words, that everyone has the right to judge in accordance with his intellect and his wishes. But in return for this, he will have to put up with being criticized for his opinions by the generations to come and in advance by his own; for there is still a Nemesis even here.



At the close of these supplementary remarks on chromatology, I will quote a few interesting facts which serve to corroborate Goethe's fundamental law of physical colours, but which he himself did not notice. If in a dark room we discharge the electricity of a conductor into a vacuum glass tube, this electric light appears as a very beautiful violet. Here as with blue flames, the light itself is at the same time the cloudy medium. For there is no essential difference whether the illuminated dimness or cloudiness, through which we peer into the dark, casts into our eye its own or reflected light. But since this electric light is here exceedingly faint and feeble, it gives rise to violet, wholly in accordance with Goethe's theory, instead of blue being produced even by the feeblest flame such as that of methylated spirit, sulphur, and so on. A common everyday proof of Goethe's theory which was overlooked by him, is that many bottles filled with red wine or 12

['To be foolish and unwise is man's right.']



dark beer, after standing for a long time in a cellar, often undergo a noticeable cloudiness of the glass through a deposit on the inside. In consequence of this, they then appear bright blue when the light falls on them, and likewise when we hold something black behind them after they have been emptied. With light that shines through, on the other hand, they show the colour of the liquid or, when empty, that of the glass. The coloured rings that appear when we firmly press together with our fingers two pieces of polished plate-glass or even polished convex glasses, may be explained in the following way. Glass is not without elasticity; and so with that strong compression the surface to some extent gives and is flattened. For a moment, therefore, it loses its perfect smoothness and evenness, whereby a gradually increasing cloudiness results. And so here too we have a cloudy medium and the different degrees of its cloudiness, with partially incident partially transmitted light, give rise to the coloured rings. If we release the pressure from the glass, its former condition is at once restored by the elasticity and the rings disappear. Newton placed a lens on a glass plate; and so the rings are called Newtonian. The present-day undulation theory bases its calculation of the oscillation-numbers of the colours on the curvature of this lens and on the space between it and its tangent. Here it assumes the air in that intervening space to be a medium different from glass and accordingly assumes refraction and homogeneous lights. All this is quite incredible. (See the description of the facts in Ule's Die .Natur, 30 June 1859, no. 26.) For this it is not necessary to have a lens at all; two pieces of plate-glass pressed with the fingers give the best result and the longer we press them in different places, the better the result. Here there is no intervening space at all with its layer of air, for they are stuck together pneumatically. (We must previously breathe on them.) In the same way, the colours of soap-bubbles are the effect of varying local cloudinesses of this semi-transparent material; likewise the colours of a layer of turpentine, old window-panes that have become dull, and so on. Goethe had the true objective insight into the nature of things, a view that is given up entirely to this. Newton was a mere mathematician, always anxious to measure and calculate,



and taking as the basis of this purpose a theory that was pieced together from the superficially understood phenomenon. This is the truth; and you can make what faces you like! Here the greater public may be informed of one more article with which I have filled the two sides of my sheet in the album that was published by the city of Frankfurt and deposited in their library on the occasion of the centenary of Goethe's birth in 1849. The introduction to it refers to the very impressive ceremonies with which the day was publicly celebrated in that city.

THE FRANKFURT GOETHE-ALBUM No garlanded monuments, nor the firing of salutes, nor the ringing of bells, let alone banquets and speeches, can suffice to atone for the grievous and revolting injustice and wrong suffered by Goethe in connection with his theory of colours. For instead of its perfect truth and excellence meeting with just and well-merited approbation, it is generally regarded as an abortive attempt. Professional men merely laugh at it, as was recently expressed in a periodical; in fact, they look upon it as a weakness of the great man which is to be treated with indulgence and covered with oblivion. This unprecedented injustice and unheard-of perversion of all truth became possible only by the fact that an apathetic, indolent, and indifferent public, devoid of all power of judgement and therefore easily imposed on in this matter, renounced all investigation and examination of their own, however easy these might be even without previous knowledge, in order to leave such matters to the • professional men', that is, to those who pursue a branch of knowledge not for its own sake, but for the purpose of reward. And this public now allows itself to be impressed by such men with their peremptory utterances and serious countenances. Now if it was its intention not to judge for itselfbut, like little children, to let itselfbe guided by authority, then that of the greatest man, whom along with Kant the nation boasts, should certainly have carried more weight than that of many thousands of such men of the trade put together, and especially in a matter that he had made his chief concern throughout the whole of his life. Now as regards the decision of these professional men, the plain unvarnished truth is that they were heartily ashamed of themselves when it came to light that they had not only allowed



themselves to be hoaxed by the palpably false, but for over a hundred years without any inquiries and investigations of their own had revered, taught, and propagated it in blind faith and with devoted admiration, until at last an old poet had come along to teach them something better. Mter this humiliation which they could not get over, they then grew callous, as is usual with transgressors, arrogantly refused subsequent information, and, by obstinately sticking for over forty years to the obviously false and even absurd, discovered and proved to be such, have gained a respite, it is true, but have increased their guilt a hundredfold. For veritatem lahorare tzimis saepe, e:rtingui nunquam, 13 as Livy has said. The day of disillusionment is at hand and must come; and what then? Then 'we gladly assume what airs we can.' (Egmont, Act III, Sc. 2.) In those German states that possess academies of learning, the ministers of public instruction placed in charge thereof could shov.' most nobly and sincerely their veneration for Goethe which undoubtedly exists, by giving such academies the task of furnishing within a fixed time a thorough and detailed investigation and critique of Goethe's colour theory together with their decision as regards its opposition to Newton's. Perhaps those highly placed officials might hear my voice and, as it appeals for justice to our most illustrious dead, they might gratify it without first consulting those who, by their inexcusable silence, are themselves accessories to the crime. This is the surest way to remove from Goethe that unmerited ignominy. It would then no longer be a case of disposing of the matter with peremptory utterances and serious face5; nor would the audacious pretence ever again be allowed a hearing that here it was a question not of judgement, but oflengthy calculations. On the contrary, the heads of corporations would see themselves faced with the alternative of either giving truth the palm, or of most seriously compromising themselves. And so under the influence of such thumbscrews, we may hope for something from them and, on the other hand, need not have the least fear. When examined seriously and honestly, Newton's chimeras obviously do not exist at all, but are merely seven prismatic colours, invented in favour of the tonic sol-fa; thus the red that is not one; the simple primary green that appears in the clearest manner before our eyes, quite naively and openly, as a mixture of blue and yellow; but in particular, the monstrosity of homogeneous lights of dark and even indigo colour which are to be found concealed in clear pure sunlight; and, moreover, their different refrangibility to which any pair of achromatic opera glasses 13

['Only too often is truth hard-pressed, but she can never be destroyed.']



will give the lie. Now I ask, how could such fictions be right in face of Goethe's clear and simple truth and of his explanation of all physical colour phenomena which has been reduced to one great natural law? Everywhere and in all possible circumstances nature furnishes staunch and impartial evidence in favour of that law. We might just as well be afraid of seeing the refutation of one multiplied by one! Qui non libere veritatem pronuntiat, proditor veritatis est. 1• ['Whoever does not freely and frankly acknowledge the truth is a betrayer thereof.'] 1•


On Ethics § 108 Physical truths can have much external significance, but lack internal. The latter is the prerogative of intellectual and moral truths which have as their theme the highest stages of the objectification of the will, whereas the former have the lowest. If, for example, we reached certainty concerning what is now merely surmise, namely that the sun at the equator gives rise to thermo-electricity, this to the earth's magnetism, and this again to polar light, such truths would be of great external significance, but of little internal. On the other hal!d, examples of internal significance are afforded not only by all superior and genuinely intellectual philosophemes, but also by the catastrophe of every good tragedy and even by the observation of human conduct in its extreme expressions of morality and immorality and thus of wickedness and goodness. For in all this there stands out the true essence whose phenomenal appearance is the world; and at the highest stage of its objectification it brings to light its inner nature.

§ 109 That the world has only a physical and not a moral significance is a fundamental error, one that is the greatest and most pernicious, the real perversi~y of the mind. At bottom, it is also that which faith has personified as antichrist. Nevertheless, and in spite of all religions which one and all assert the contrary and try to establish this in their own mythical way, that fundamental error never dies out entirely, but from time to time raises its head afresh until universal indignation forces it once more to conceal itself. But however certain the feeling is of a moral significance of the world and life, its elucidation and the unravelling of the contradiction between it and the course of the world are so



difficult that it was reserved for me to expound the true and only genuine and pure foundation of morality which is, therefore, always and everywhere sound, together with the goal to which it leads. Here I have the reality of moral events too much on my side for me to have to be concerned whether this doctrine could ever again be superseded and displaced by another. However, so long as my ethics continues to be ignored by the professors, the Kantian moral principle prevails at the universities and of its different forms the most popular is now that of the 'Dignity of Man'. I have already expounded the hollowness of this in my essay On the Basis of Ethics, § 8. And so here we say only this much. If it were asked in general on what this so-called dignity of man rested, the answer would soon be that it rested on his morality. Thus the morality rests on the dignity and the dignity on the morality. But even apart from this, it seems to me that the notion of dignity could be applied only ironically to a creature like man who is so sinful in will, so limited in intellect, and so vulnerable and feeble in body: Quid superb it homo? cujus conceptio culpa, ]1/asci poerza, labor vita, necesse mori! 1

I would, therefore, like to lay down the following rule in contrast to the above-mentioned moral principle of Kant. In the case of every man with whom we come in contact, we should not undertake an objective estimation of his worth and dignity; and so we should not take into consideration the wickedness of his will, the limitation of his intellect, or the perversity of his notions; for the first could easily excite our hatred and the last our contempt. On the contrary, we should bear in mind only his sufferings, his need, anxiety, and pain. We shall then always feel in sympathy with him, akin to him, and, instead of hatred or contempt, we shall experience compassion; for this alone is the aya717J z to which the Gospel summons us. The standpoint of sympathy or compassion is the only one suitable for curbing hatred or conten1pt, certainly not that of seeking our pretended 'dignity'. ['How could man give himself airs? For him conception is already guilt, birth the punishment, life hard labour, and death his doom.' (Schopenhauer's own distich.)] z ['Brotherly love'.] 1



§ I 10 In consequence of their deeper ethical and metaphysical views, the Buddhists start not from the cardinal virtues, but from the cardinal vices, as the opposite or negation of which the cardinal virtues first make their appearance. According to I. J. Schmidt's Geschichte der Ostmongolen, p. 7, the Buddhist cardinal vices are lust, idleness, anger, and greed. But probably arrogance should take the place of idleness; they are stated thus in the Lettres edifiantes et curieuses, I8Ig edn., volume vi, p. 372, where, however, envy or hatred is added as a fifth. :t\1y correction of the highly eminent I.J. Schmidt's statement is supported by its agreement with the teachings of the Sufis who in any case are under the influence of Brahmanism and Buddhism. These two lay down the same cardinal vices and indeed very effectively in pairs, so that lust is seen associated with greed, and anger with arrogance. (See Tholuck's Bliithensammlung aus der morgerzliindischen Arfystik, p. 206.) Even in the Bhagavadgita (chap. 1 6(2 I) we find lust, anger, and greed laid down as the cardinal vices, a fact that testifies to the great age of the doctrine. Similarly in the Prabodha Chandro Da;'a, this philosophical allegorical drama that is so important for the Vedanta philosophy, these three cardinal vices appear as the three generals of King Passion in his war against King Reason [ Vernurifi]. The cardinal virtues opposed to those cardinal vices would prove to be chastity and generosity together with meekness and mildness. Now if we compare these deeply conceived, oriental basic ideas of ethics with Plato's cardinal virtues that are so famous and are repeated so many thousands of times, namely justice, bravery, moderation, and wisdom, we shall find that these arc without a clear guiding fundamental idea and that they arc, therefore, superficially chosen and in part even palpably false. Virtues must be qualities of the will; but wisdom is connected primarily with the intellect. The crwpocn)V'YJ, because it was an adherence to prudence and sobriety.'] s ['Diligence, obedience, justice, humility •.] 4



theless, it must be admitted that cowardice does not seem to be really compatible with a noble character because of the excessive concern for one's own person which is here betrayed. Now courage is reducible to the fact that, at the present mon1ent, we willingly encounter threatening evils in order to guard against greater ones that lie in the future, whereas cowardice does the opposite. Now the former is the character of patience, consisting as it does in our being clearly aware that there are even greater evils than those actually present and that such 1night be brought on by our rushing away from or warding off those that are present. Accordingly, courage would be a kind of patience; and just because it is this that enables us to put up with privations and self-conquests of every kind, so, by means of it, courage too is at any rate akin to virtue. Yet it admits possibly of a higher method of consideration. Thus we might reduce all fear of death to a want of that natural metaphysics which is, therefore, merely felt and by virtue whereof man carries within himself the certainty that he exists just as much in everything, yes everything, as he does in his own person whose death can, therefore, do him little harm. Accordingly, from this very certainty there sprang heroic courage and consequently (as the reader will recall from my Ethics) from the same source with the virtues ofjustice and loving kindness. Now this is, of course, equivalent to our seizing the matter from very high up; yet it is not really possible to explain in any other way why cowardice appears to be contemptible and personal courage, on the other hand, noble and sublime. For from a lower standpoint, it cannot be seen why a finite individual, who himself is everything in fact is himself the fundamental condition for the existence of the rest of the world, should not subordinate everything else to the maintenance of himself. And so a wholly immanent and thus purely empirical explanation will really not suffice, since it could be based only on the usefulness of courage. This may have been the origin of Calderon's once expressing a sceptical but noteworthy view on courage; in fact he actually denied its reality; and this he does from the lips of a wise old minister in the presence of his young king. Q;le aunque el natural temor En todos obra igualmente,



]Vo mostrarle es ser valient.e, r esto es lo que Jwa el valor. La hija del aire, Pt. n, Jorn.


For although natural fear is active in everyone in the same way, a man is brave by his not letting it be seen, and it is just this that constitutes bravery. Daughter of the Air, Pt. n, A. 2.

With regard to the differences, previously touched on, between the value of courage as a virtue among the ancients and the moderns, it must nevertheless be borne in mind that the ancients understood by virtue, virtus, apen], every excellence, every quality praiseworthy in itself, whether moral, intellectual, or perhaps merely physical. But after Christianity had shown that the fundamental tendency of life is moral, only moral excellences were thought of under the concept of virtue. However, we find the earlier usage in the older Latinists and also in Italian, as is testified by the well-known meaning of the word virtuoso. We should draw the express attention of students to this wider sphere of the concept virtue among the ancients, as otherwise it may with them easily give rise to a secret perplexity. For this purpose, I specially recommend two passages that are preserved for us by Stobaeus, the one emanating ostensibly from Metopos, a Pythagorean, in the first chapter of the Florilegium, § 64, (vol. i, p. 22 of Gaisford), where the fitness of every member of our body is declared to be apEnJ; and the other in his Eclogae ethicae, lib. n, c. 7 (p. 272, ed. Heeren), where it says quite plainly: UKVTOTCJJ.LOV apETTJV )..i_yea0at Ka8' ?}v a7TOTt::Aeiv apta'TOJI tmoCrqp..a SvvaTat (sutoris virtus dicitur secundum quam pro bum calceum novit parare).6 This is why the ethics of the ancients speaks of vices_ and virtues that find no place in our own.

§ I I2 Just as there is some doubt about the place of bravery among the virtues, so also is there about that of avarice among the vices. However, we must not confuse it with the greed that is expressed primarily by the Latin word avaritia. We will, therefore, allow the pro et contra concerning greed to be brought forward and ['That by virtut: whereof a shoemaker knows how to make an excellent shoe, is described as his virtue (skill, ability).' 0


heard, whereupon the final judgement may be left to the reader. A: 'Avarice is not a vice, but its opposite, extravagance, is. This springs from an animal limitation to the present moment over which the future, that still exists in mere thought, cannot gain any power, and is due to the illusion of a positive and real value of sensual pleasures. Accordingly, future want and misery are the price the spendthrift pays for these empty, fleeting, and often merely imaginary pleasures, or for feeding his empty brainless arrogance on the posturings of his parasites who secretly laugh at him and on the astonishment of the mob and of those who are envious of his pomp and show. We should, therefore, run away from him as from one who is infectious and should break with him in time after we have discovered his vice so that, when the consequences later appear, we do not have to help to bear them, or to play the role of the friends of Timon of Athens. In the same way, we must not expect that the man who thoughtlessly runs through his own fortune will leave another's untouched if it should come into his hands, but alieni appetens, sui profusus,' as Sallust has very rightly put it (Catilina, c. 5). Therefore extravagance leads not merely to impoverishment, but through this to crime; criminals from the well-to-do classes have almost all become so in consequence of extravagance. Accordingly, the Koran rightly says (Sura xvii, 1. 27): "Spendthrifts are brothers of Satan." (See Sadi, translated by Graf, p. 254.) Avarice, on the other hand, is attended with superfluity, and when could that be undesirable? But this must be a good vice which has good consequences. Thus avarice starts from the correct principle that all pleasures have a merely negative effect; that a happiness composed of them is, therefore, a chimera; and that pains, on the other hand, are positive and very real. And so the avaricious man denies himself pleasures in order to be better secured against pains; and accordingly his maxim then becomes sustine et abstine.s Further, since he knows how inexhaustible are the possibilities of misfortune and how innumerable the paths of danger, he gathers against these all the means in order, if possible, to surround himself with a threefold

' r· Squandering his own, and coveting another's'.] 8

f' Sustain and




rampart. Who can say where the precautions against accidents begin to go too far? Only the man who knew where the perfidy of fate attains its end; and even if these precautions were excessive, this error would at most bring harm to himself and not to others. If he will never need the wealth he has accumulated, it will one day benefit others whom nature has endowed with less foresight. That the money is till then withdrawn from circulation is no disadvantage at all, for it is not an article of consumption; on the contrary, it merely represents actual useful goods; it is not itself these. At bottom, ducats are themselves only counters; they have no value, but only what they represent is of value and this cannot be withdrawn from circulation. Moreover, through his retention of the money, the value of what is left in circulation is raised by just as much. Now although, as is asserted, many a miser ultimately loves money directly and for its own sake, so does many a spendthrift just as surely like the spending and wasting of money purely for its O\Vll sake. But friendship, or indeed kinship, with a miser is not only without danger, but is even of advantage since it may bring great benefits. For in any case, those nearest to him will after his death reap the fruits of his self-control. But even while he is alive, we can, in cases of great need, hope for something from him, at any rate always more than from the spendthrift who is penniless, helpless, and loaded with debt. Mas da el duro, que el desnudo (more is given by the hard-hearted than by the naked) says a Spanish proverb. In consequence of all this, avarice is not . ' a VICe. B: 'It is the quintessence of vices! If physical pleasures seduce man from the right path, then his sensual nature, the animal within him, is to blame. Carried away by the excitement and overcome by the impression of the moment, he acts without reflection. If, on the other hand, through physical weakness or old age he has reached a stage where the vices he could never forsake finally forsake him, in that his capacity for sensual pleasures has become extinct, then, if he turns to avarice, intellectual greed survives the sensual. Money, as that which represents all the good things of this world, and is their abstractum, now becomes the withered stem to which his dull and atrophied appetites cling, as egoism in abstracto. They now regenerate themselves in the love of mammon. From the fleeting



sensual appetite there has come a well-considered and calculating greed for money. Like its object, such greed is of a symbolical nature and, also like it, is indestructible. It is the obstinate love of the pleasures of the world, outliving itself so to speak, the consummate inconvertibility, the sublimated and spiritualized lust of the flesh, the abstract focal point wherein all desires and appetites centre. This point is, therefore, related to those appetites as the universal concept to particular things. Accordingly, avarice is the vice of old age as extravagance is that of youth.'

§ I 13 The disputatio in utramque partern9 just given is certainly calculated to force us to the juste milieu 10 morality of Aristotle. The following consideration is also favourable to this. Every human perfection is akin to a fault into which it threatens to pass; conversely, however, every fault is akin to a perfection. And so the error into which we fall in respect of a man is often due to the fact that, at the beginning of our acquaintance, we confuse his faults with the perfections akin to them, or vice versa. The cautious man then seems to us to be cowardly, the thrifty to be avaricious; or again the spendthrift appears to be liberal, the lout straightforward and sincere, the foolhardy to be endowed with noble self-confidence, and so on.

§ I 14 Vvhoever lives among men and women always feels tempted afresh to assume that moral baseness and intellectual incapacity are closely connected in that they spring directly fron1 one root. This, however, is not so, as I have shown at length in the second volume of my chief work, chapter 19, no. 8. That illusion which springs from the fact that we very often find the two together, can be explained entirely from the very frequent occurrence of both, in consequence of which it may easily happen that the two have to dwell under one roof. But it is here undeniable that they play into each other's hands to their mutual advantage, whereby we then have the very unpleasant spectacle which is presented by only too many people, and the world goes on as it o ('The arguments for and against'.] to ('The happy mean'.]



does. In particular, want of intelligence is favourable to the appearance of falseness, meanness, and malice, whereas prudence and cleverness are better able to conceal these. On the other hand, how often a man's perversity of heart prevents him from seeing truths to which his intelligence would indeed be quite equal! Let no one, however, be unduly proud; for everyone, even the greatest genius, is in some sphere of knowledge decidedly limited, and thereby proclaims his kinship with the human race that is essentially wrong-headed and absurd. In the same way, everyone has within himself something morally bad, and even the best and indeed the noblest character will at times surprise us with individual traits of depravity in order, as it were, to acknowledge his kinship with the human race among whom there occur' all degrees of baseness, infamy, and even cruelty. For precisely on the strength of this bad element in him, of this evil principle, he was bound to become a human being. For the same reason, the world generally is what my true mirror of it has shown it to be. In spite of all this, however, the difference between men remains immeasurably great, and many a man would be shocked if he were to see another as he himself is. 0 for an Asmodeus of morality who for his minion rendered transparent not merely roofs and walJs, but also the veil of dissimulation, falseness, hypocrisy, grimace, lying, and deception that is spread over everything, and who enabled him to see how little genuine honesty is to be found in the world and how often injustice and dishonesty sit at the helm, secretly and in the innermost recess, behind all the virtuous outworks, even where we least suspect them. Hence we see the four-footed friendships of so many men of a better nature; for how could we recover from the endless dissimulation, duplicity, perfidy, and treachery of men if it were not for the dogs into whose open and honest eyes we can look without distrust? Our civilized world, then, is only a great masquerade; here we meet knights, parsons, soldiers, doctors, barristers, priests, philosophers, and the rest. But they are not what they represent themselves to be; they are mere masks beneath which as a rule moneymakers are hidden. One man dons the mask of the law which he has borrowed for the purpose from his barrister, merely in order to be able to come to blows



with another. Again, for the same purpose, a second chooses the mask of public welfare and patriotism; a third that of religion or religious reform. Many have already donned for all kinds of purposes the mask of philosophy, philanthropy, and so on. Women have less choice; in most cases, they make use of the mask of maidenly reserve, bashfulness, domesticity, and modesty. Then there are universal masks without any special characteristic, the dominoes, as it were, which are, therefore, met everywhere; we see them in strict integrity, probity, politeness, sincere interest, and grinning friendliness. In most cases, as I have said, manufacturers, tradespeople, and speculators are concealed beneath all these masks. In this respect, merchants constitute the only honest class, for they alone pass themselves off for what they are; and so they go about unmasked and therefore stand low in rank. It is very important for us to learn early in youth that we are living in a masquerade, otherwise we shall be unable to grasp and get at many things but shall stand before them quite puzzled ; and indeed those will stand longest who ex meliore luto .finxit praecordia Titan. 11 Such are the favour found by baseness and meanness, the neglect suffered by merit, even by the rarest and greatest, at the hands of the men of its branch, the odium incurred by truth and great abilities, the ignorance of scholars in their own branch. Almost invariably, the genuine article is rejected and the merely spurious sought. And so young men should be taught that in this masquerade the apples arc of wax, the flowers of silk, the fish of cardboard, and that everything is a plaything and a jest. They should be told that, of two men who are so seriously discussing something, one is giving nothing but spurious articles, while the other is paying for them in counters. But more serious considerations are to be made and worse things reported. At bottom, man is a hideous wild beast. We know him only as bridled and tamed, a state that is called civilization; and so we are shocked by the occasional outbursts of his nature. But when and where the padlock and chain oflaw and order are once removed and anarchy occurs, he then shows himself to be what he is. Meanwhile, whoever would like without such occasions to be enlightened on this point can convince 11


[•(Whose) heart was fashioned by Titan out of better clay.' (Juvenal, Sal.Ues, 183.)]



himself from hundreds of ancient and modern accounts that man is inferior to no tiger or hyena in cruelty and pitilessness. An important instance from modern times is furnished by the answer which the British Anti-slavery Society received to their question in 1840 from the North American Anti-slavery Society in respect of the treatment of slaves in the slave-holding states of the North American Union: Slavery and the internal slave-trade in the United States of North America, being replies to questions transmitted by the British Anti-slavery Sociery to the American Antislavery Society. London, 1841, 280 pp., price 4-S'· in cloth. This book constitutes one of the gravest indictments against human nature. None will lay it aside without horror and few without tears. For whatever its reader may have heard, imagined, or dreamt about the unhappy state of the slaves or even human harshness and cruelty in general, will seem to him of no account when he reads how those devils in human form, those bigoted, church-going, strict sabbath-observing scoundrels, especially the Anglican parsons among them, treat their innocent black brothers who through.. violence and injustice have fallen into their devil's claws. This book, which consists of dry but authentic and substantiated accounts, inflames to such a degree all human feeling that, with it in our hands, we could preach a crusade for the subjugation and punishment of the slaveholding states of North America. For they are a disgrace to the whole of humanity. Another example from our own times, for to many the past no longer appears to be of any value, is contained in Tschudi's Reisen in Peru, 1846, in the description of the treatment of the Peruvian soldiers by their officers.* But we need not look for examples in the New \Vorld, that reverse side of the planet. It came to light in 1848 that, within a short space of time, there had been in England not one case but a hundred where a husband had poisoned a wife or a wife a husband, or the two their children one after another, or they had slowly tortured them to death through hunger and bad treatment. This they had done merely to receive from the burial clubs the funeral expenses that were guaranteed to them in case of death. For this purpose, they registered a child simultaneously in • A most recent instance is found in Macleod's Travels in Eastern .1frica (2 vols., London, r86o), where there is an account of the shocking, coldly calculating, and truly devilish cruelty with which the Portuguese treat their slaves in Mozambique.



several clubs, sometimes as many as twenty. The reader should refer to The Times of 20, 22, and 23 September 1848, a paper which, for this reason alone, presses for the abolition of burial clubs. On I 2 December I 853 it most emphatically repeats the same denunciation. Reports of this kind, of course, belong to the blackest pages in the criminal records of the human race; yet the source of this and of everything like it is the inner and innate nature of man, this God Kct:r· leox-!Jv 12 of the pantheists. In the first place, there is established in everyone a colossal egoism that leaps with the greatest ease beyond the bounds of justice, as is taught by daily life on a small scale and by every page of history on a large. Is there not in the acknowledged necessity of the European balance of power which is watched with such anxiety a confession that man is a beast of prey who infallibly falls on a weaker neighbour as soon as he has espied him? And do we not obtain daily confirmation of this on a small scale? But allied to the boundless egoism of our nature is also a store, to be found more or less in every human breast, of hatred, anger, envy, rancour, and malice. It is accumulated like the poison in a snake's fang and merely awaits the opportunity to release itself and then to rave and rage like an unleashed demon. If for this no great opportunity presents itself, it will in the end make use of the smallest by magnifying it in the imagination, Quantulacunque adeo est occasio, sufficit irae.u J uvenal, Satires, xm. I 83.

and will then carry things as far as it can and dare. \Ve see this in everyday life where such eruptions are known by the expression 'to give vent to one's spleen over something'. Moreover, it will actually have been observed that the subject feels decidedly better after them if only they have met with no resistance. Even Aristotle says that anger is not without pleasure: 7'0 opyl~EaOat ~Su (Rhetoric, I. I I' II. 2) 'l4 where he adds a passage from Homer who declares anger to be sweeter than honey. But we indulge really con amore not only in anger Par excellence'.] ['An opportunity, however small, suffices to make us angry.'] 14 ['To be angry is pleasant.'] u ['



but also in hatred that is related to it as chronic illness to acute: Now hatred is by far the longest pleasure: Men love in haste, but they detest at leisure. Byron, Don Juan, can. xm, st. 6. Gobineau (Essai sur l'inigalit! des races humaines) called man l' animal michant par excellence 1 s and people take this amiss because they feel it is meant for them. But he is right, for man is the only animal who causes pain to others with no other object than wanting to do so. Other animals never do this except to satisfy their hunger or in the heat of conflict. It is said of the tiger that it kills more than it eats, it strangles everything merely with the intention of eating it, and it is simply a case where ses yeux sont plus grands que son estomac, 1 6 as the French express it. No animal tortures merely for the sake of torturing, but man does and this constitutes the devilish character that is far worse than the merely animal. Vve have already spoken of the matter on a large scale, but on the small, where everyone daily has an opportunity of observing it, it becomes just as clear. For example, two young dogs are playing with each other, a peaceful and pretty sight; and then a child of three or four appears on the scene. Almost inevitably, it will at once violently beat with its whip or stick, thereby showing that, even at that early age, it is !'animal michant par excellence. Even teasing and practical joking which are so frequent and purposeless spring from this source. For example, if we have expressed our displeasure at some disturbance or other minor annoyance, there will not be wanting those who for that very reason will bring them about; l' animal michant par excellence! This is so certain that we should guard against expressing our annoyance at minor inconveniences; on the other hand, we should also beware of expressing our satisfaction over some trifle. For in the latter case, they will do what the gaoler did who, on discovering that his prisoner had performed the difficult trick of taming a spider and found pleasure in it, at once crushed it; l' animal m!chant par excellence! Animals, therefore, instinctively fear the sight and even a sign of man, that animal m!chant par excellence. Even here 1S 16

['A particularly malicious and spiteful animal'.] ['Its eyes are larger than its stomach.']



instinct does not deceive, for man alone hunts animals that are neither useful nor harmful to him. We have already spoken of human wickedness on a large scale. And so in the heart of everyone there actually resides a wild beast which merely waits for the opportunity to rage and rave and would like to injure and even destroy others, if they even obstructed its path. It is precisely this that is the source of all love of conflict and war; and it is just this that always gives knowledge, its appointed custodian, so much to do in trying to restrain and keep it somewhat in bounds. In any case, it may be called the radical evil, which will be useful at any rate to those for whom words take the place of an explanation. But I say that it is the will-to-live which, more and more embittered by the constant suffering of existence, seeks to lighten its own pain and distress by inflicting them on others. In this way, however, it gradually develops into real wickedness and cruelty. We may here add the remark that, just as according to Kant matter exists only through the antagonism of the forces of expansion and contraction, so human society exists only through that of hatred or anger and fear. For our spiteful nature would possibly make everyone of us a murderer if it were not mixed with a proper dose of fear in order to keep it within bounds; and again this alone would make him an object of ridicule and the plaything of every boy if anger did not already reside within him and keep watch. But the worst trait in human nature is always that malicious joy at the misfortune of others, for it is closely akin to cruelty and in fact really differs therefrom only as theory from practice. It appears generally where sympathy should find a place, for this, as its opposite, is the true source of all genuine righteousness and loving kindness. In another sense, enl!J is opposed to sympathy, in so far as it is called forth by the opposite occasion; and so its opposition to sympathy is due primarily to the occasion and only in consequence thereof does it appear in the feeling itself. Therefore, although reprehensible, envy is nevertheless excusable and generally human, whereas that malicious joy is devilish and its mockery the laughter of hell. It occurs, as I have said, precisely where sympathy should occur; envy, on the other hand, occurs only where there is no occasion for sympathy but rather for the opposite thereof, and arises in the human


breast precisely as that opposite and consequently to this extent as a human feeling. Indeed, I am afraid that no one will be found entirely free from it. For it is natural, and in fact inevitable, for a man to feel more bitterly his own lack of pleasures and possessions when he sees those of others; only this should not excite his hatred for those who are more fortunate than he; and yet envy in the real sense consists precisely in this. But it should occur least of all where the gifts of nature are the occasion and not those of fortune, chance, or other people's favours. For everything inborn has a metaphysical basis and thus a justification of a higher order and is, so to speak, by the grace of God. Unfortunately, however, envy works in quite the opposite way and is most implacable in the case of personal merits and advantages.* Therefore intellect and even genius must in the world first beg for forgiveness wherever they are not in a position to venture proudly and boldly to despise the world. Thus if envy ha~ been excited merely through wealth, rank, or power, it is still often appeased by egoism; for the man with feelings of egoism sees that, in certain cases, he can hope for help, pleasure, assistance, protection, advancement, and so on from the one who excites his envy, or that, at any rate by associating with him and basking in the brilliance of his high position, he may even enjoy honour. Moreover, there is still always the hope of one day obtaining for himself all those good things. On the other hand, with natural gifts and personal qualities, such as beauty in women or intellect in men, the envy directed against these derives no consolation of the one kind and no hope of the other, so that there is nothing left for it but • A recent article of The Times furnished me with the most candid and vigorous expression of the matter I have ever come across. It is worth preserving here: 'There is no vice of which a man can be guilty, no meanness, no shabbiness, no unkindness, which excites so much indignation among his contemporaries, friends and neighbours, as his success. This is the one unpardonable crime which reason cannot defend, nor humility mitigate. "When heaven with such parts has blest him, Have I not reason to detest him?" is a genuine and natural expression of the vulgar human mind. The man who writes as we cannot write, who speaks as we cannot speak, labours as we cannot labour, thrives as we cannot thrive, has accumulated on his own person all the offences of which man can be guilty. Down with him! Why cumbereth he the ground?' The Times, g October 1858.



to hate bitterly and implacably those who are so favoured and endowed. Therefore its sole desire is to take revenge on its object. Here, however, it now finds itself in the unfortunate position where all its blows prove to be powerless, as soon as one sees that they have resulted from it. It therefore hides itself as carefully as do the secret sins of lust and now becomes an inexhaustible inventor of tricks, dodges, and devices for masking and concealing itself so that unseen it may wound its object. For example, the excellent qualities that eat into its heart, will be ignored by it with the most open and unaffected airs. It will not see or recognize them at all; it will never have noticed or heard of them; and it will thus produce a master of dissimulation. With great subtlety it will completely overlook, as apparently unimportant, the man whose brilliant qualities are gnawing at its heart; it will be quite unaware of him and will occasionally have completely forgotten him. Above all, it will make every attempt by secret machinations carefully to deprive those excellent qualities of every opportunity to appear and make themselves known. From a dark corner it will then dispatch over them censure, ridicule, contempt, and calumny, like the toad which from its hole spits forth venom. To the same extent, it will enthusiastically praise men of no account, or even the mediocre and inferior work in the same class of achievements. In short, it becomes a Proteus of stratagems in order to wound without showing itself. But what good will that do? The practised eye still recognizes it. It is already betrayed by its fear of and flight from its object which, the more brilliant this is, the more it therefore stands alone. For this reason, pretty girls have no friends of their own sex. Envy is betrayed by its groundless hatred which explodes most violently on the slightest, and often only imaginary, occasion. For the rest, however widespread its family, we recognize it in the universal praise of modesty, that cunning virtue which is invented for the benefit of trite vulgarity. Yet through the very necessity it reveals of having to treat inferior qualities with forbearance, such virtue merely brings these to light. Of course for our self-esteem and pride, there can be nothing more flattering than the sight of envy lurking in its hiding-place and carrying on its machinations. However, we should never forget that, where envy exists, it is accompanied by hatred, and we should beware of letting an



envious man become a false friend. For this reason, our discovery of such a man is for our safety important. \Ve should, therefore, study him in order to be up to his tricks; for he is to be found everywhere and always goes around incognito or else, like the poisonous toad, lurks in dark holes. On the contrary, he deserves neither consideration nor sympathy, but the rule of conduct should be: Envy wilt thou ne'er appease; So mayst thou scorn it at thy ease. Thy fame and fortune are its pain; Thus may its torment be thy gain! Now if, as we have done, we have kept in mind human depravity and feel inclined to be horrified thereat, we must at once cast a glance at the miset;_y of human existence, and again at the former w-Ren we are shocked at the latter. We shall then find that they balance each other and shall become aware of eternal justice by noticing that the world itself is the tribunal of humanity, and by coming to understand why everything that lives must atone for its existence first in living and then in dying. Thus the malum poenae 1 7 tallies with the malum culpae. 1 S From the same point of view, there also disappears the indignation at the intellectual incapacity of the masses which in life so often disgusts us. Therefore miseria humana, nequitia humana, and stultitia lzumana 19 are wholly in keeping with one another in this Samsara of the Buddhists and are of equal magnitude. But if, on a particular occasion, we keep one of them in mind and specially examine it, it soon appears to exceed in size the other two; but this is an illusion and is merely the result of their colossal range. This is Samsara and everything therein denounces it; yet, more than anything else, the human world where morally depravity and baseness, intellectually incapacity and stupidity, prevail to a fearful extent. Nevertheless, there appear in it, although very sporadically yet always astonishing us afresh, phenomena of honesty, kindness, and even nobility, as also of great intellect, the thinking mind, and even genius. These never go out entirely, but glitter at us like isolated points that shine 11

18 19

['The evil of punishment'.] ['The evil of guilt'.] ['Human misery, human depravity, and human stupidity'.]



out of the great mass of darkness. We must take them as a pledge that in this Samsara there lies hidden a good and redeeming principle which can break through and inspire and release the whole.

§ 115 The readers of my Ethics know that with me the foundation of morality rests ultimately on the truth that has its expression in the Veda and Vedanta in the established mystical formula tat tvam asi (This art thou) which is stated with reference to every living thing, whether man or animal, and is then called the Mahavakya or Great Word. In fact, we can regard the actions that occur in accordance with it, for example those of benevolence, as the beginning of mysticism. Every good or kind action that is done with a pure and genuine intention proclaims that, whoever practises it, stands forth in absolute contradiction to the world of phenomena in which other individuals exist entirely separate from himself, and that he recognizes himself as being identical with them. Accordingly, every entirely disinterested benefit is a mysterious action, a m)'sterium: and so to give an account thereof, men have had to resort to all kinds of fictions. After Kant had removed all other props from theism, he left it only this one, namely that it afforded the best interpretation and explanation of that and all similar mysterious actions. Accordingly, he admitted theism as an assumption which theoretically is incapable of proof, it is true, but for practical purposes is valid. But I am inclined to doubt whether here he was really quite in earnest. For to support morality by means of theism is equivalent to reducing it to egoism, although the English, like the lowest classes of society with us, see absolutely no possibility of any other foundation. The above-mentioned recognition of one's own true nature in the individuality of another who is o~jectively manifesting himself, appears with special clearness and beauty in those cases where a man, beyond all recovery and doomed, is still anxiously, actively, and zealously concerned over the welfare and rescue of others. In this connection is the well-known story of a maidservant who one night was bitten in the yard by a mad dog. Giving herself up as past all help, she seized the dog, dragged it



into the stable, and locked the door so that no one else would fall a victim. Also that incident in Naples which is immortalized by Tischbein in one of his water-colour drawings. Fleeing before the lava as it rapidly streams towards the sea, the son carries on his back his old father; but as there is only a narrow strip of land separating the two destructive elements, the father requests his son to lay him down and save himself by running, since otherwise both will perish. The son obeys and, as he departs, casts a farewell glance at his father. All this is portrayed in the picture. Then there is the historical fact, described in a masterly way by Sir Walter Scott in his Heart of Midlothian, chapter two. Of two delinquents condemned to death, one who, through his lack of skill had been the cause of the other's capture, successfully liberates him in church after the deathsermon by vigorously overpowering the guard, and this without making any attempt to save himself. Also in this connection may be included a scene often depicted in copper-engravings, although it may give offence to western readers. Here a soldier is already kneeling to be shot and is driving back with a handkerchief his dog who wants to approacl}. him. In all cases of this kind, we see an individual, who is approaching with absolute certainty his immediate personal destruction, think no more of his own survival and direct all his efforts and exertions to the preservation of another. How could there be more clearly expressed the consciousness that this destruction is only that of a phenomenon and so is itself phenomenon, and that, on the other hand, the true essence of the one who is perishing is untouched by it, continues to exist in the other in whom he so clearly recognizes just now that essence, as is revealed by his action? For if this were not so and we had before us one in the throes of actual annihilation, how could such a being, by the supreme exertion of his last strength, show such a deep sympathy and interest in the welfare and continued existence of another? There are indeed two opposite ways in which we may become conscious of our own, existence; first in empirical intuitive perception where it manifests itself from without as an existence that is infinitely small in a world that is boundless as regards space and time; as one among the thousand millions of human beings who run over the globe for a very short time, renewing themselves every thirty years. The second way is




absorption in ourselves and becoming conscious of being all in all and really the only actual being, such being in addition once again seeing himself, as in a mirror, in the others who are given to him from withoUt. Now the first method of knowledge embraces merely the phenomenon which is mediated through the principium individuationis; but the second is an immediate awareness of oneself as the thing-in-itself. This is a doctrine wherein I am supported by Kant as regards the first half, but by the Veda as regards both. The simple objection to the second mode of knowledge is certainly its assumption that one and the same being can be in different places at the same time, and yet entirely in each place. Now although from the empirical point of view this is the most palpable impossibility and even an absurdity, it nevertheless remains perfectly true of the thing-initself. For that impossibility and absurdity rest merely on the forms of the phenomenon which constitute the principium individuationis. For the thing-in-itself, the will-to-live, exists whole and undivided in every being, even in the tiniest; it is present as completely as in all that ever were, are, and will be, taken together. To this is due the fact that every being, even the most insignificant, says to himself: dum ego salvus sim, pereat mundus. 20 And in fact even if all others perished, the essence-initself of the world would still exist unimpaired and undiminished in this one being which remained and would laugh at that destruction as at a sleight of hand. This is, of course, a conclusion per impossibile 21 which can with equal justification be opposed by the one that, if any being even the smallest were completely annihilated, then in it and with it the whole world would have perished. In this sense, the mystic Angelus Silesius says: I know that God without me cannot for one moment live; If I to nothing come, he of necessity must his spirit give.

But in order that this truth, or at any rate the possibility that our own self can exist in other beings whose consciousness is separate and distinct from ours, may to some extent be seen even from the empirical standpoint, we need only call to mind zo ('May the world perish provided I am safe.'] z1 ['Which, it is true, is impossible to carry out'.]



magnetized somnambulists. After they have woken up, their identical ego knows nothing of all that they themselves have said, done, and undergone the moment before. Thus individual consciousness is so entirely phenomenal a point that even in the same ego two such may arise, one of which knows nothing of the other. Considerations like the foregoing, however, always retain here in our Judaized West something very strange, but not so in the fatherland of the hwnan race, where quite a different faith prevails. According to this, even today, after a burial for instance, the priests chant before all the people and to the accompaniment of instruments the Vedic hymn that begins: 'The embodied spirit that has a thousand heads, a thousand eyes, a thousand feet, is rooted in the human breast and at the same time permeates the whole earth. This being is the world and all that ever was and will be. It is that which grows through nourishment and confers immortality. This is its greatness and therefore it is the most glorious embodied spirit. The elements of this world constitute one part of its being, and three parts are immortality in heaven. These three parts have raised themselves from the world, but one has remained behind and is that which (through transmigration) enjoys and does not enjoy the fruits of good and evil deeds', and so on (see Colebrooke, On the Religious Ceremonies of the Hindus, in the fifth volume of the Asiatic Researches, p. 345 of the Calcutta edition; also his Miscellaneous Essa__.vs, vol. i, p. 167). Now if we compare such hymns with our hymn-books, we shall no longer be surprised that Anglican missionaries on the Ganges meet with such pathetically little success and with their sermons on their 'maker' 22 make no impression on the 'Maker' often appears in compound words, such as 'watchmaker', 'shoemaker', and so on. Now 'our maker' (in French it would be 1Wirefaiseur) is in English writings, sermons, and in ordinary life a very common and favourite expression for 'God'. I ask the reader to note that this is extremely characteristic of the English conception of religion. But the well-informed will readily imagine what the feelings must be of the Brahman who is trained in the doctrine of the sacred Veda and of the Vaisya emulating him, and indeed of the whole Indian people who are imbued with the belief in metempsychosis and retribution and in every event of their lives are reminded of these, when the attempt is made to force suc.h notions on them. To pass from the eternal Brahm that exists, suffers, lives, and hopes for salvation in each and all, ro that 'maker' out of nothing is an exacting demand. They will never be persuaded that the world and man have been made u



Brahmans. But whoever wishes to enjoy the pleasure of seeing how an English officer forty-one years ago boldly and emphatically opposed the absurd and shameless pretensions of those gentlemen, should read the Vindication of the Hindoos from the aspersions of the Reverend Claudius Buchanan, with a refutation of his arguments in favour of an ecclesiastical establishment in British India : the whole tending to evince the excellence of the moral system of the Hindoos; by a Bengal officer, London, 1808. With rare frankness and candour the author discusses the advantages of the Indian doctrines over the European. The short work that would run to about eighty pages would be worth translating even now; for it expounds better and more openly than any other work known to me the very beneficial and practical influence of Brahmanism, its effect in life and on the people-a report quite different from out of nothing. Therefore on page 15 of the book to be eulogized in the text, the eminent author rightly says: 'The efforts of the missionaries will remain fruitless; no Hindu worthy of respect will ever pay any attention to their exhortations.' Similarly on page so, after discussing the fundamental teachings of Brahmanism, he says: 'It is idle to expect that they will ever give up those views with which they are imbued and in which they live, move, and have their being, in order to accept the Christian teaching. Of this I am firmly convinced.' Also on page 68: 'And iffor this purpose the whole Synod of the English Church were to apply itself, it would not succeed unless by absolute compulsion in converting more than one in a thousand of the great Indian population.' The accuracy of this prophecy is now testified, forty-one years later, by a long letter in The Times of 6 November 1849 signed Civis, which clearly comes from a man who has for many years lived in India. Among other things it says: 'Not a single instance has ever come to my knowledge where in India a person of whom we might be proud had been converted to Christianity. Not a single case did I know in which there had not been one who proved to be a reproach to the faith he accepted and a warning to the one he renounced. The proselytes who have hitherto been made, few as they are, have, therefore, merely served to deter others from following their example.' After this letter had been contradicted, there appeared in confirmation of it a second, signed Sepahu, in The Times of 20 November, in which it said: 'I have served over twelve years in the Madras Presidency and during that long period I never saw a single individual who had been converted, even only nominally, from Hinduism or Islam to the Protestant religion. Therefore to this extent, I entirely agree with Ciuis and believe that almost all officers of the army will furnish similar evidence.' This letter was also vigorously contradicted; but I believe that such contradiction, even if it did not come from the missionaries, came at all events from their cousins; at any rate they were very godly opponents. And so even if some things they mention are not without foundation, I still give more credit to the above extracts of unbiased witnesses. For in England I have more faith in the red coat than in the black; and to me everything is eo ipso suspect which is there said in favour of the Church, that wealthy and comfortable institution for the penniless younger sons of the entire aristocracy.



those that emanate from clerical pens which, precisely as such, deserve little credit. It agrees with what I had heard from English officers who had spent half their lives in India. For to know how jealous of, and angry with, Brahmanism is the Anglican Church, which is always so nervous on account of its livings and benefices, we ought to be familiar, for example, with the loud yelping that was raised some years ago in Parliament by the bishops, and was carried on for many months. Since the East India authorities, as always on such occasions, showed themselves exceedingly stubborn, the bishops began their barking again and again merely because the English authorities, as was reasonable in India, showed some external marks of respect for the ancient and venerable religion of the country. For example, when the procession with the images of the gods passed by, the guard and its officer turned out and saluted with drums. Then there was the furnishing of a red cloth to cover the Car of Juggernaut, and so on. This was discontinued, as also were the pilgrim-dues raised in this connection; and such steps were really taken to please those gentlemen. Meanwhile, we have the incessant fulminations of those self-styled rightreverend holders oflivings and wearers of full-bottomed wigs at such things; the really medieval way in which they express themselves on the original religion of our race, but which today should be called crude and vulgar; likewise the grave offence given to them, when in 1845 Lord Ellenborough brought back to Bengal in a triumphal procession and handed over to the Brahmans the gate of the pagoda of Sumenaut which had been destroyed in 1022 by that execrable Mahmud of Ghaznavi. I say that all this leads one to surmise that to them it was not unknown how much the majority of Europeans living many years in India were at heart in favour of Brahmanism, and how they simply shrugged their shoulders at both the religious and social prejudices of Europe. 'All this falls off like scales, whenever one has lived only two years in India', such a man once said to me. Even a Frenchman, that very courteous and cultured gentleman, who some ten years ago in Europe accompanied the Devadassi (vulgo Bayaderes), at once exclaimed with fiery enthusiasm, when I came to speak to him about the religion of the country: Monsieur, c' est la vraie religion.' z3 z3 ['Sir, this is the true religion.']



If we go to the root of the matter, even the fantastic and sometimes strange Indian mythology, still constituting today as it did thousands of years ago the religion of the people, is only the teaching of the Upanishads which is symbolized, in other words, clad in images and thus personified and mythicized with due regard to the people's powers of comprehension. According to his powers and education, every Hindu traces, feels, surmises, or clearly sees through it and behind it; whereas in his monomania the crude and narrow-minded English parson ridicules and blasphemes by calling it idolatry, fondly imagining that he alone is on the right side of the fence. The purpose of the Buddha Sakya Muni, on the other hand, was to separate the kernel frotn the shell, to free the exalted teaching itself from all admixture with images and gods, and to make its pure intrinsic worth accessible and intelligible even to the people. In this he was marvellously successful and his religion is, therefore, the most excellent on earth and is represented by the greatest num her of followers. With Sophocles he can say: - - 8t:ois fJ-fll




o fJ-"f]OEI' c.lJII op..ou t






KpetTOS KCtTCtKT"f]UCtLT • EYW OE Kat oLxa

Kfivwv r.lTTodJa


lmar.aanv K>..los-. 2 4

Ajax, 767-9·

On the other hand, incidentally it is extremely droll to see the cool smile of self-complacency with which some servile German philosophasters and also many precise and literal orientalists look down on Brahmanism and Buddhism from the heights of their rationalistic Judaism. To such little men I would really like to suggest a contract with the comedy of apes at the Frankfurt Fair, that is, if the descendants of Hanuman would tolerate these amongst them. I think that if the Emperor of China or the King of Siam and other Asiatic monarchs grant European powers permission to send missionaries to their countries, they would be perfectly entitled to do so only on condition that they were allowed to send just as many Buddhist priests with equal rights to the European country in question. For this purpose they would :w ('Even the man who is nothing is capable of gaining strength when in alliance

with the gods; but I ventw-e to gain this glory even without them.']


naturally select those who had previous instruction in the particular European language. We should then have before us an interesting competition and see who would have most success. Christian fanaticism which tries to convert the whole world to its faith is inexcusable. Sir James Brooke (Rajah of Borneo) who colonized part of Borneo and ruled there for a time, gave an address at Liverpool in September 1858 to a meeting of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and thus to the centre of the missions. In it he said: 'vVith the I\tfohammedans you have made no headway and with the Hindus you have made no progress at all, but are still at the very point where you were on the first day ~vhen you set foot in India.' (The Times, 29 September 1858.) On the other hand, Christian evangelists have proved to be very useful and praiseworthy in another direction, in that some have furnished us with admirable and complete accounts of Brahmanism and Buddhism and with faithful and accurate translations of sacred books, which could not possibly have been done except con amore. To these distinguished men I dedicate the following rhyme: As teachers you went thither; As pupils you came hither, From the meaning veiled, unseen Off fell the secret screen.

We may therefore hope that one day even Europe will be purified of all jewish mythology. Perhaps the century has come in which the peoples ofthejaphetic group oflanguages coming from Asia will again receive the sacred religions of tluir native country; for they have again become ripe for these after having long gone astray.

§ 116 After reading my prize-essay on moral freedom, no thinking man can be left in any doubt that such freedom is not to be sought anywhere within nature, but only without. It is something metaphysical, but in the physical world something that is impossible. Accordingly, our individual deeds are by no means free; on the other hand, the individual character of each one of



us is to be regarded as his free act. He himself is such because he wills once for all to be such. For the will exists in itself, even in so far as it appears in an individual. Thus it constitutes the individual's primary and fundamental willing and is independent of all knowledge because it precedes this. From knowledge it obtains merely the motives wherein it successively develops its true nature and makes itself known or becomes visible. As that which lies outside time, however, it itself is unchangeable so long as it exists at all. Therefore everyone as such who exists now and under the circumstances of the moment, which, however, on their part occur with strict necessity, can ~!ever do anything other than what he is actually doing at that very moment. Accordingly, the entire empirical course of a man's life in all its events great and small is as necessarily predetermined as are the movements of a clock. At bottom, this results from the fact that the manner in which the aforesaid metaphysical free act enters the knowing consciousness is an intuitive perception. Such perception has time and space as its form by means whereof the unity and indivisibility of that act now manifest themselves as drawn apart into a series of states and events that occur on the guiding line of the principle of sufficient reason (or ground) in its four aspects; and it is precisely this that is called necessary. But the result is a moral one, in that we know what we are from what we do, just as we know what we deserve from what we suffer. Moreover, it follows from this that individuality does not rest solely on the principium individuationis and so is not through and through mere phenomenon, but that it is rooted in the thing-initself, the will of the individual; for his character itself is individual. But how far down its roots here go, is one of those questions which I do not undertake to answer. In this connection, it is worth recalling that in his own way even Plato describes the individuality of each man as his free act, since he represents each as being born in consequence of his heart and character, just as he is by means of metempsychosis. (Phaedrus, c. 28. Laws, bk. x, p. 106, ed. Bip.) Even the Brahmans on their part mythically express the unchangeable certainty of the inborn character by saying that, when producing each man, Brahma engraved on his skull his deeds and sufferings in written characters according to which the course


of his life was bound to follow. They point to the serrated sutures of the skull-bones as this writing. They say that the meaning and purport of this are a consequence of his previous life and actions. (See Lettres edifiantes et curieuses, I 8 I 9 edn., vol. vi, p. 149, et vol. vii, p. I 35·) This same insight appears to underlie the Christian (even Pauline) dogma of predestination. Another consequence of the above, which is generally confirmed empirically, is that all genuine merits, moral as well as intellectual, have not merely a physical or otherwise empirical origin, but also a metaphysical. Accordingly, they are given a priori and not a posteriori; in other words, they are inborn and not acquired and consequently are rooted not in the mere phenomenon, but in the thing-in-itself. Therefore at bottdrn, everyone does only what is already irrevocably fixed in his nature, that is to say, in his innate disposition. It is true that intellectual abilities require cultivation just as many products of nature need preparation if they are to be enjoyable or otherwise useful. But in the one case as in the other, no preparation or cultivation can replace the originaltnaterial. For this reason, all qualities which have been merely acquired, learnt, or forced and hence are a posteriori, moral as well as intellectual, arc really ungenuine and a vain hollow sham without substance. Just as this follows from correct metaphysics, so too is it taught by a deeper insight into experience. It is even testified by the great weight that all attach to physiognomy, and to the external appearance of everyone who is in any way distinguished and thus to his innate qualities, and therefore by their great desire to see him. Naturally those who are superficial and, for good reasons, vulgar natures will be of the opposite opinion in order to be able, in the case of everything they lack, confidently to hope that it will still come to them. This world, then, is not merely a battle-ground for whose victories and defeats prizes are distributed in the next, but it is itself already the last judgement in that each brings with him reward and ignominy according to his merits; and by teaching metempsychosis, Brahmanism and Buddhism know nothing different from this.

§II7 The question has been asked what two men would do each of whom had grown up quite alone in the wilderness and who



met each other for the first time. Hobbes, Pufendorf, and Rousseau have given opposite answers. Pufendorf believed they would affectionately greet each other; Hobbes, on the other hand, thought they would be hostile, whilst Rousseau considered that they would pass each other by in silence. All three are both right and wrong; for precisely here the immeasurable difference of the inborn moral disposition of individuals would appear in so clear a light that we should have, as it were, its rule and measrne. For there are those in whom the sight of a man at once stirs feelings of hostility in that their innermost being exclaims 'not-I '. And there are others in whom that sight at once rouses feelings of friendly interest and sympathy; their true nature exclaims 'I ~once more!' There are innumerable degrees between the two. That we are so fundamentally different in this main point is, however, a great problem and indeed a mystery. A book, Historische Nachrichten zur Kenrztniss des Menschen im roherz Zustande, by a Dane named Bastholm furnishes material for many different observations on this a priori nature of our moral character. He is struck by the fact that the mental culture and moral goodness of nations exhibit themselves as quite independent of each other, in that the one is often to be found without the other. We shall explain this from the fact that moral goodness does no.t by any means spring from reflection whose development depends on mental culture, but directly from the will itself, whose nature and disposition are inborn and which is in itself incapable of any improvement through culture. Bastholm then describes most nations as very depraved and bad; on the other hand, he has to report the most admirable general characteristics of certain savage tribes, for example the Orotchyses, the inhabitants of the island of Savu, the Tunguses, and the Pelew Islanders. He then attempts to solve the problem why it is that some tribes are exceptionally good, while their neighbours are bad. It seems that it may be explained from the fact that, as the moral qualities are inherited from the father, such an isolated tribe in the above cases came from one family and consequently from the same ancestor who was precisely a good man, and that it kept itself pure. On many embarrassing occasions, such as the repudiation of state debts, raids, predatory incursions, and so on, the English have reminded the North Americans that they are descended from an English criminal



colony; although this can be true of only a small number of them.

§ I I8 It is wonderful how the individuality of every man (that is, this definite character with this definite intellect) exactly determines, like a penetrating dye, all his actions and thoughts down to the most insignificant, in consequence whereof one man"'s whole course of life, in other words, his inner and outer record, turns out to be so fundamentally different from that of another's. Just as a botanist recognizes the whole plant from one leaf and Cuvier constructed the enti're animal from one bone, so from one characteristic action of a man we can arrive at a cotrect knowledge of his character. And so to some extent, we can construct him therefrom even when that action concerns a mere trifle, in fact then often best of all; for in tuore important things men are more careful, whereas with trifles they follow their own nature without much thought. If in such things a man shows by his absolutely arbitrary and egoistic conduct that just and righteous feelings are foreign to his heart, we should not entrust a single penny to him without proper security. For who will believe that a man who in all other matters that are not concerned with property daily shows himself to be unjust, and whose boundless egoism everywhere peeps out from the little actions of ordinary life, for which he is not called to account, like a dirty shirt peeping through the holes of a tattered jacketwho will believe that such a man will be honourable in the affairs of mine and thine without any other impulse than that of justice? Whoever is inconsiderate on a small scale will be iniquitous on a large. Whoever ignores small traits of character has only himself to thank if afterwards, to his own detriment, he gets to know the character in question from its more important traits. On the same principle, we should also break at once with so-called good friends, even over trifles, if they betray a malicious, bad, or mean character; this we should do to guard against their mean tricks on a large scale which merely await the opportunity to make their appearance. The same holds good of servants; we should always hear in mind that it is bet~er to be alone than among traitors.


Actually the foundation and propaedeutic to all knowledge of men is the firm belief that a man's conduct essentially and on the whole is not guided by his reasoning faculty and the resolutions thereof. Thus no one becomes this or that person because he would like to, however keen his desire may be, but his actions proceed from his inborn and unalterable character, are more closely and specially determined by motives, and are consequently the necessary product of these two factors. Accordingly, we may liken a man's conduct to the course of a planet which is the result of the tangential force given to it and of the centripetal force acting from its sun. The former force represents the character, the latter the influence of motives. This is almost more than a mere comparison in so far as the tangential force whence the motion really comes, while limited by gravitation, is, taken metaphysically, the will that manifests itself in such a body. Now whoever has understood this will see also that we never really have more than a conjecture of what we shall do in any future situation, although we often regard this as a decision. For example, in consequence of a proposal, a man has most sincerely and even very willingly incurred the liability to do something on the occasion of circurnstances that still lie in the future. But it is by no means certain that he will fulfil the obligation, unless his nature were such that his given promise, itself and as such, would always and everywhere be for him a sufficient motive, in that, through his regard for his honour, it acted on him like the compulsion of someone else. But apart from this, what he will do on the occurrence of those circumstances may be predetermined simply yet with perfect c.lrtainty from a correct and precise knowledge of his character and the external circumstances under whose influence he then comes. This is, of course, very easy if we have already seen him in a similar situation; for he will infallibly do the same thing a second time, naturally always on the assumption that on the first occasion he had already correctly and completely known the circumstances. For, as I have often observed, causafmalis non movet secundum suum esse reale, sed secundum esse cognitum. 2 s (Suarez, Disputationes metaphysicae, Disp. xxiii, sect. 7 and 8.) Thus what .1s 'The final cause operates not according to its real being, but only according to its being as that known.']



he had not known or understood the first time could not then affect his will; just as an electrical process stops when some insulating body impedes the action of a conductor. The unchangeable nature of character and the necessity of actions which results therefrom arc impressed with unusual clearness on the man who on some occasion did not behave as he should have, in that he lacked decision, firmness, courage, or other qualities that the moment demanded. Afterwards he recognizes and sincerely regrets his wrong course of action and perhaps~ says to himself: 'Yes, if I were asked to do that again, I would act differently!' He is again asked, and the same thing happens; and again he acts just as he did previously-to his great astonishment.* ' Shakespeare's dramas as a ~ule afford us the best illustration of the truth in question; for he was thoroughly imbued with it and his intuitive wisdom expresses it in concreto on every page. Nevertheless, I will now give an example of this wherein he brings it out with special clearness, yet without intention and affectation, for, as a genuine artist, he never starts from concepts. On the contrary, he obviously does this merely to satisfy psychological truth as he apprehends it immediately and intuitively; for he was unconcerned whether it wouid be noticed and properly understood by the few, and had no inkling that one day in Germany stupid and shallow fellows would elaborately explain that he had written his plays in order to illustrate moral commonplaces and platitudes. Here I have in mind the character of the Earl of Northumberland, which we see carried through three tragedies without his really appearing in a principal part. On the contrary, he appears in only a few scenes that are distributed over fifteen acts; and so, if we do not read with all our attention, we may easily lose sight of the character that is depicted in such widely separated passages and of its moral identity, however firmly the poet kept these in view. Everywhere he makes this Earl appear with noble knightly dignity and use appropriate language, and on occasions has put into his mouth very fine and even sublime passages. For he is far from doing what Schiller docs, who likes to paint the devil black and whose moral approval or disapproval of the charac• Cf. World as Will and Represmlation, vol. ii, chap. 19.



ters portrayed sounds through their own words. With Shakespeare and also with Goethe, on the other hand, everyone is, while he is present and speaks, perfectly right even if he were the devil himself. In this respect, let us compare the Duke of Alva in Goethe's work and in Schiller's. And so we already make the acquaintance of the Earl of Northumberland in Richard JI where he is the first to hatch a plot against the King in favour of Bolingbroke who is afterwards Henry IV and whom he persomilly flatters (Act n, Sc. 3). In the following act he is reprimanded for having said plain Richard when speaking of the King, yet he gives the assurance that he did so merely for the sake of brevity. Shortly afterwards, his subtle and insidious speech moves the King to capitulate. In the following act he treats the King during his abdication with such harshness and contempt that the unhappy and broken monarch once more loses his patience and exclaims: 'Fiend, thou torment'st me ere I come to hell!' At the conclusion he reports to the new King that he has sent to London the decapitated heads of the adherents of the previous monarch. In the following tragedy, Henry IV, in just the same way he hatches a plot against the new King. In the fourth act, we see these rebels united and preparing for the great battle on the following day and impatiently waiting only for him and his battalions. Finally, a letter comes from him stating that he himself is sick, but that he cannot trust his forces to anyone else; however, they are to continue courageously and advance bravely to the attack. They do so, but are considerably weakened by his failure to appear; they are completely beaten and most of their leaders are captured, his own son, the heroic Hotspur, falling by the hand of the Prince of Wales. Again, in the following play, the second part of Henry IV, we see him furiously angry about the death of his son and wildly breathing revenge. He therefore stirs up the rebellion afresh and its leaders are once more assembled. Now as in the fourth act they have to fight the main battle and merely await his arrival to join them, a letter comes. In it he states that he has been unable to collect adequate forces and that for the present he will seek safety in Scotland; nevertheless he heartily wishes them great success in their heroic venture. Whereupon they surrendered to the King under an agreement that was not kept, and thus they perished.


Therefore far from the character being the work of rational choice and deliberation, the intellect in the case of conduct has nothing to do except to present motives to the will. But then, as a mere spectator and witness, such intellect is bound to see how, from the effect of the motives on the given character, the course of life shapes itself all of whose events, strictly speaking, occur with the same necessity as that with which the movements of a clock take place. On this point I refer to my prize-essay 'On the Freedt>m of the \Vill '. The illusion of a complete freedom of the will, which nevertheless occurs here in the case of every single action, has in that essay been reduced by me to its true significance and origin. In this way, I have stated its efficient cause to which I will here add only the final in the following teleological explanation '(i)f that natural illusion. Freedom and originality that really belong only to a man's intelligible character (whose mere apprehension by the intellect is his course of life) appear to be inherent in every individual action; and thus for empirical consciousness the original work is apparently carried out afresh in every particular action. In this way, our course of life obtains the greatest possible moral vovfN.T'YJO'ts, 26 since all the bad sides of our character thus really make themselves felt; and so conscience accompanies every deed with the commentary that 'you could act differently', although its true meaning is: 'You could also be a different person.' Now, on the one hand, through the unalterable nature of character and, on the other, through the strict necessity with which all the circumstances occur in which everyone is successively placed, his course of life is precisely determined from A to Z. And yet the course of one man's life turns out to be incomparably happier, nobler, and worthier than another's in all its modifications both subjective and objective. If, therefore, we are not to eliminate all justice, this leads to the assumption which is firmly established in Brahmanism and Buddhism that the subjective conditions with which everyone is born, as well as the objective conditions under which he is born, are the moral consequence of a previous existence. Machiavelli, who certainly does not appear to have concerned himself with philosophical speculations, is by virtue of the :.~6

['Guidance, warning, advice.']



penetrating keenness of his unique intellect led to the follo\ving really profound utterance. It presupposes an intuitive knowledge of the entire necessity with which, in the case of given characters and motives, all actions take place. With it he begins the prologue to his comedy Clitia: Se nel mondo tornassino i medesimi uomini, come tornano i medesimi casi, non passarebbono mai cento anni, che noi non ci trovassimo un altra volta insieme, a fare le medesime cose, che hora. (If in the world the same men returned just as the same cases recur, a hundred years would never pass without our being together once more, doing again exactly the same thing as we are doing now.) However, a reminiscence of what Augustine says, De civitate dei, lib. xu, c. I 3, seems to have led him to this. The fatum,, of the ancients is nothing but the certainty which has reached our consciousness that everything that takes place is firmly bound by the causal chain and therefore .happens with strict necessity; and accordingly that the future is already perfectly fixed, that it is determined certainly and exactly, and that as little can be changed in it as in the past. Only the foreknowledge of it can be regarded as fabulous in the fatalistic myths of the ancients-if here we eliminate the possibility of magnetic clairvoyance and second sight. Instead of trying to set aside the fundamental truth of fatalism by frivolous talk and silly subterfuges, we should attempt clearly to understand it and recognize it; for it is a demonstrable truth that furnishes us with an important datum for understanding our very mysterious and enigmatical existence. Predestination and fatalism are different not in substance, but only in the fact that the given character and the determination of human actions which comes from without proceed from a being with knowledge in the case of the former, and from one without knowledge in the case of the latter. In the result they coincide; that happens which must happen. On the other hand, the concept of a moral freedom is inseparable fron1 that of primordial originality. For that a being is the work of another but is nevertheless free as regards his willing and acting, is something that may be said in words but cannot be conceived in thought. Thus whoever called him into existence out of nothing at the same time created and determined his true nature, that is to say, all his attributes and qualities. For no one can ever create without creating something, that is, a being that is


precisely determined in every way and in all its attributes. But from those qualities that are thereby determined, all its manifestations and actions subsequently flow with necessity, since these are only the qualities and attributes themselves which are brought into play and merely required the occasion or inducement from without in order to make their appearance. As a man is, so must he act; and hence guilt and merit attach not to his individual acts, but to his true nature and being. And so theism and man's moral responsibility ci:re incompatible because such responsibility always comes home to a man's author and originator who is really the centre of gravity of that responsibility. Vain attempts have been made to bridge those two incompatibilities by means of the concept of man's moral freedom; but the bridge is for ever collapsing. The free being must also be the original. If our will is free, so too is the primary andfundamental nature; and conversely. The pre-Kantian dogmatism that tried to keep these two predicaments apart was in precisely this way forced to assume two freedoms, that of the first world-cause for cosmology and that of the human wiB for morality and theology. Accordingly, even with Kant, both the third and fourth antinomies deal withfreedom. In my philosophy, on the other hand, the plain and simple recognition of the strict necessitation of actions is in keeping with the doctrine that the will is that which manifests itself even in beings without knowledge. Otherwise the obvious necessitation with their action would place this in opposition to willing, namely if there really were such a freedom of individual action and this were not rather necessitated just as strictly as is every other action. On the other hand, as I have just shown, the same doctrine of the necessitation of the acts of will renders it necessary for man's existence and essence themselves to be the work of his freedom and consequently of his will and so for this will to have aseity. 2 7 Thus, as I have shown, on the opposite assumption all responsibility would disappear and the moral world, like the physical, would be a mere machine which its outside constructor set in motion for ills own amusement. Thus truths are all connected to one another, need and supplement one another, whereas error stumbles and blunders at every corner. (Being by and of itself. All other beings are ab alia, dependent in their existence on a creator (God).] 27



§ II9 In§ 20 of my essay' On the Basis of Ethics', I have adequately investigated the nature of the influence that moral instruction can have on conduct and what are its limits. Essentially analogous to this, is the influence of example which, however, is more powerful than that of precept and thus merits a brief analysis. Example acts primarily by preventing or promoting; it has the former effect when it induces a man to leave undone what he would like to do. Thus he sees that others do not do it, from which he infers generally that it is not advisable and hence that it is bound to bring danger to his own person, property, or honour. He sticks to this and gladly sees himself spared the necessity of having to make his own investigations. Or he sees that someone else who has done it suffers from the evil consequences thereof; this is the example acting as a deterrent. On the other hand, example has an encouraging effect in two different ways. Thus its effect may be to induce a man to do what he would like to leave undone and yet to be careful to show him that omission to do it may land him in danger or injure him in the opinion of others. Again, the effect of example may be to encourage him to do what he likes doing, but what he has hitherto omitted to do from fear of danger or disgrace; this is the alluring or tempting example. Finally, exan1ple may also bring to a man's notice sotnething that would otherwise not have occurred to him at all. In this case, its effect is obviously in the first instance only on the intellect; here the effect on the will is secondary and, when it occurs, will be brought about by an original act ofjudgement, or by confidence in the man who sets the example. The entire very powerful effect of example is due to the fact that man, as a rule, has too little power of judgement and often too little knowledge to explore his own way himself; and so he willingly follows in the footsteps of others. Accordingly, everyone will be the more open to the influence of example, the more he lacks those two qualifications; and so the guiding star of the n1ajority is the example of others, and their whole conduct, in great affairs as in small, is reducible to mere imitation; they do not carry out the smallest thing on their own judgement. The cause of this is their dread of any kind of thought or reflection, and their well-grounded


want of confidence in their own judgement. At the same time this surprisingly strong imitative tendency in man is also evidence of his kinship with the ape. Imitation and habit are impelling motives of most of the actions of men. The way in which the example acts, however, is determined by the character of each; thus the same example can have a tempting effect on one man and a deterrent effect on another. We are readily afforded an opportunity of observing this by certain social improprieties which have gradually taken root and formerly did not exist. When such a thing is first noticed, one man will think: 'Ah, hmv can that be allowed? How egoistic, how inconsiderate; I will certainly take care never to do anything like that'; but twenty others will think: 'Ah, he does this, so can I!' · From a moral point of view, example like precept can certainly promote civil OF·legal improvement, but not an inner change for the better which is the really moral. For it always acts only as a personal motive and consequently on the assumption of susceptibility to motives of this kind. But it is precisely whether a character is predominantly susceptible to this or that kind of motive which decides in favour of its proper, true, and yet always only innate morality. Example generally acts as a means for promoting the appearance of good and bad characteristics; but it does not create them. And so even here Seneca's words hold good: velle non discitur.zs The doctrine that all genuine moral qualities, good as well as bad, are innate is better suited to the metempsychosis of Brahmanism and Buddhism than to judaism. According to metempsychosis 'man's good and evil deeds follow him, like his shadow, from one existence to another'; whereas Judaism requires that man should come into the world as a moral zero in order to decide now, by virtue of an inconceivable liberum arbitrium indi.fferentiae 2 9 and thus in consequence of rational reflection, whether he wants to be an angel or a devil, or anything else that lies between the two. All this I know quite well, but I pay not the least attention to it; for my standard is truth. I am no professor of philosophy and, therefore, do not recognize my vocation to consist in placing on :zs ['Willing cannot be taught.' (Epistulae, 81. q .. )] 29 [The freedom of indifference; the ability of the will to choose independently of antec.erlent determination.]



a firm footing, first and foremost, the fundamental ideas of Judaism, even if these should for ever bar the way to all philosophical knowledge. Liberum arbitrium indifferentiae under the name of 'moral freedom' is the most favourite plaything of professors of philosophy which must be left to them-to the clever, the honest, and the sincere.



On Jurisprudence and Politics § 120 It is a characteristic fault of the Germans to look in the clouds for that which lies at their feet. An outstanding example of thiit is furnished by the way in which the professors of philosophy deal with the Law of Nature. In order to explain the simple relations of human life which constitute the material and substance of this, and hence· right and wrong, possession, State, criminal law, and so on, the most extravagant, abstract, and consequently the vaguest and emptiest concepts are produced, and from them first one tower of Babel and then another are built into the clouds according to the special whim of the particular professor. In this way, the clearest and simplest relations of life that directly concern us are rendered unintelligible, to the great detriment of the young men who are educated in such a school. These things themselves are extremely simple and easy to understand, and of this the reader may convince himself from my discussion of them in the 'Basis of Ethics', § r 7, and in my chief work, The World as Will and Representation, volume i, § 62. But with certain words, such as right, freedom, the good, to be (this meaningless infinitive of the copula), and others, the German becomes quite giddy, falls at once into a kind of delirium, and begins to ~ndulge in futile, high-flown phrases. He takes the vaguest and thus the hollowest concepts and artificially strings them together. Instead of this, he should keep his eye on reality, and intuitively perceive things and relations as they really are from which those concepts are abstracted and which, therefore, constitute their only true substance. § 121 Whoever starts from the preconceived opinion that the concept of right must be positive and now undertakes to define it, will not make anything of it; for he is trying to grasp a shadow,



pursues a ghost, and looks for a nonens. The concept of right, like that of freedom, is negative; its content is a mere negation. The concept of wrong is positive and is equivalent to injury in the widest sense and hence to laesio. Now such an injury can affect either one's person, property, or honour. Accordingly, human rights are easy to determine; everyone has the right to do that which injures no one. To have a right or claim to something means simply to be able to do it, take it, or use it without thereby injuring anyone else. Simplex sigillum veri. 1 It is clear from this how meaningless are many questions, for example whether we have the right to take our own life. But as regards the claims that others may have on us personally, these rest on the condition of our being alive and fall to the ground when that condition no longer applies. It is an extravagant demand that a man who no longer cares to live for himself, should still go on living as a mere ma 8'lliiOt, llVOJ!taV , ' IE lVCU 7tEV7E ' ~ TJJLEpWII, 'IJ

VOJ!OS: 'Ill, O'TTOTf. _. "'l ' ' ~ Q -\. I 1 f' f OOOV a~ lOS" HJTIV 0 pll(J"'f:V~ Kal 0 VOJ!OS·




a10 OWTO

['When a king died, it was the custom of the Persians to have anarchy for five days so that the people would see how valuable were the king and the law.']



to be found in almost every human breast, associated in most

cases with an accumulated store of hatred and malice, so that originally ''E:tKos- 12 far outweighs cfn/\ta. 13 Moreover, it is many millions of individuals so constituted who are to be kept within the bounds of law, order, and peace, whereas originally everyone has the right to say to everyone else: 'I am just as good as you!' If we consider all this, it must surprise us that, on the whole, the world pursues its course with such peace and quiet, law and order, as we see. This, of course, is brought about solely by the State roachine. For only physical force can always have an immediate effect, since only this impresses and instils respect in people, constituted as they normally are. If, to convince ourselves of this through experience, we once tried to remove all compulsion and to urge people most clearly and emphatically to be reasonable, just, and fair-minded, but to act contrary to their interests, then the impotence of merely moral force would be obvious, and in most cases only a mocking laugh would be the answer to our attempt. Therefore physical force alone is capable of securing respect; but such force is found originally with the masses, where it is associated with ignorance, stupidity, and injustice. Accordingly, in such difficult circumstances, the primary task of statesmanship is to subject physical force to intelligence and mental superiority, and to make it serve these. If, however, this intelligence itself is not accompanied by justice and good intentions, then, where it succeeds, the result is that the State so established consists of deceivers and deceived. But this gradually comes to light through progress in the intelligence of the masses, however much it may be impeded, and then leads to a revolution. On the other hand, if this intelligence is accompanied by justice and good intentions, then the result is a State that is perfect so far as human affairs generally are concerned. It is very useful for this purpose, if justice and good intentions not only exist, but are also demonstrable and openly exhibited and are, therefore, subject to public account and control. Nevertheless, care must here be taken that, through the resultant participation of several men, the central power of the whole State, with which it has to act in home and foreign u [' Quarrel '.]

u ['Love'.]



affairs, docs not lose in concentration and force, as is almost invariably the case in republics. Accordingly, the supreme task of statesmanship is to satisfy all these requirements through the form of the State. Yet in point of fact, it has also to consider the given people with their national peculiarities. This is the raw material whose nature will, therefore, always have a great influence on the completeness of the work. It will always be a great thing if statesmanship solves its problem to the extent of reducing to a minimum wrong and injustice in the community. To dispose of these entirely without leaving a trace is merely the ideal aim that can be reached only approximately. Thus if they are cast out in one direction, they creep back in another; for unrighteousness and injustice are in human nature deep-rooted. Attempts are made to reach that goal by the artificial form of the constitution and the perfection of legislation; yet they remain an asymptote simply because fixed concepts never exhaust all the particular cases and cannot be brought down to the individual. For such concepts resemble the stones of a mosaic, not the delicate brushwork of a painting. Moreover, all experiments here are dangerous since we have to deal with the most difficult material, the human race. To handle it is almost as dangerous as handling a fulminating high explosive. In this respect, the freedom of the press is certainly for the state machine what the safety-valve is for the steam-engine. For by means of it, every dissatisfaction is at once ventilated in words and such grievance is soon exhausted if in it there is not very much substance. If, however, there is, then such ventilation is a good thing and enables the matter to be known in time and to be put right. This is very much better than forcing down the grievance so that it simmers, ferments, expands, and finally ends in an explosion. On the other hand, the freedom of the press may nevertheless be regarded as a permission to sell poison, poison for the heart and mind. For what is there that cannot be put into the heads of the masses who lack knowledge and judgement, especially if we pretend that there are for them gains and advantages? And when something has been put into a man's head, what outrage is there which he is not capable of committing? And so I am very much afraid that the dangers of a free press outweigh its advantages, especially where there are legal ways of dealing with complaints and grievances. But in



any case, a condition of such freedom should be the strictest prohibition of each and every anonymity. Generally speaking, one might even advance the hypothesis that the nature of right is analogous to that of certain chemical substances. These cannot be exhibited pure and isolated, but at most only with a small admixture that serves as a vehicle for them or gives them the necessary consistency, such as, for example, fluorine, even alcohol, prussic acid, and many others. Accordingly, if it is to gain a footing in the world of reality and even prevail, right necessarily needs a small addition of arbitrary force and might so that, in spite of its merely ideal and thus ethereal nature, it may be able to operate and exist in this real and material world without evaporating and vanishing into the sky, as happens with Hesiod. All birthright, all privileges through inheritance, every national religion, and many other things, may be regarded as such a necessary chemical base or alloy; since only on an arbitrarily established foundation of this kind could right be enforced and consistently carried into effect. Such a foundation would thus be, so to speak, the 36~ fLO' 1rofJ aTw 14 of right. The artificial and arbitrarily chosen plant-system ofLinnaeus cannot be replaced by a natural one, however much such a system accorded with reason and frequently as the attempt may have been made, because such a system never affords us the certainty and firmness of definition possessed by the artificial and arbitrary. In the same way, the artificial and arbitrary basis of the constitution of the State, as previously referred to, cannot be replaced by a purely natural one. Doing away with the aforesaid conditions, such a natural basis would try to put the privileges of personal merit in place of those of birth, the results of rational investigation in place of the national religion, and so on. Thus however much all this accorded with reason, it would still lack that certainty and firmness of definition which alone ensure the stability of the community. A state constitution that embodied abstract right would be an excellent thing for natures other than human. But since the great majority are extremely egoistic, unjust, inconsiderate, deceitful, and sometimes even wicked; and since, in addition, they are endowed 14

['Give me a foothold (and I shall move the earth).' (A saying of Archimedes.)]



with very meagre intelligence, there arises from this the necessity of a power which is concentrated in one man, is itself above all law and right, and is wholly irresponsible; a power to which all submit and which is regarded as something of a higher order, a ruler by the grace of God. In the long run, only in this way can mankind be curbed and governed. On the other hand, we see in the United States of America the attempt to manage entirely without any such arbitrary foundation and thus to let abstract right rule, pure and unalloyed. But the result is not attractive; for, in spite of all the material prosperity in the country, we there find as the prevailing attitude sordid utilitarianism with ignorance as its inevitable companion which has paved the way to stupid Anglican bigotry, shallow conceit, and coarse brutality, in combination with a silly veneration of women. And in that country even worse things are the order of the day, such as revolting Negro slavery coupled with the utmost cruelty to the slaves, the most iniquitous suppression of the free blacks, lynch-law, assassination frequent and often unpunished, duels of unprecedented brutality, sometimes open ridicule of all rights and laws, repudiation of public debts, shocking political defrauding of a neighbouring state followed by predatory incursions into its rich territory. Such raids had then to be covered up by the highest authorities with lies that were known as such and laughed at by everyone in the country. Then there is the evergrowing ochlocracy, and finally we have all the pernicious influence which the above-mentioned denial of integrity in high places is bound to exercise on private morality. And so this specimen of a pure constitution of right on the other side of the planet says very little in favour of republics, but even less do those imitations of it to be found in Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, and Peru. A special and paradoxical disadvantage of republics is that in them it is bound to be more difficult for men of superior intellect to gain high positions and thus reach direct political influence than it is in monarchies. For always, everywhere, and in all circumstances, all those with narrow, feeble, and vulgar minds arc at once in league or instinctively united against men of superior intellect and regard them as their natural foe; they are firmly held together by their common fear of such men. Now in a republican constitution the numerous



host of inferior minds will easily succeed in suppressing and excluding those of superior inteJlect in order not to be outflanked by them. And in spite of all having equal original rights, men of inferior ability outnumber the others by fifty to one. In a monarchy, on the other hand, this natural and universal league of the narrow-minded against those of superior intellect is onesided and thus only from below; whereas from above, mental ability and talent are naturally supported and protected. For in the first place, the monarch himself is far too high and firmly established, to be frightened by competition from anyone else. Then he himself serves the State more by his will than by his intellect; for the latter can never be equal to so many claims and demands. He must, therefore, always make use of the brains of others; and, seeing that his interests are firmly bound up with those of his country and are inseparable from and identical with them, he will naturally give preference and show favour to the best because they are his most suitable instruments, that is, as soon as he has the ability to find them, which is not very difficult if only an honest search is made. In the same way, even ministers are too far ahead of junior politicians to regard them with jealousy; and so for analogous reasons, they will gladly single out and set to work men of outstanding intellect in order to make use of their powers. In this way, therefore, intellect always has in monarchies much better chances against stupidity, its implacable and ever-present foe, than it has in republics; but this is a great advantage. In general, however, the monarchical form of government is natural to man in almost the same way as it is to bees and ants, to cranes in flight, to wandering elephants, to wolves in a pack in search of prey, and to other animals. All these place one of their number in charge of the adventure. Every human undertaking attended with danger, every military campaign, every ship, must obey one commander; one will must everywhere be the leader. Even the animal organism is constructed monarchically; the brain alone is the guide and governor, the TrrEfLOVtKov. Although heart, lungs, and stomach contribute much more to the continued existence of the whole, these Philistines cannot for that reason guide and direct. This is the business of the brain alone and must proceed from one point. Even the system of planets is monarchical. On the other hand,



the republican system is as unnatural to man as it is unfavourable to higher intellectual life and thus to the arts and sciences. In accordance with all this, we find everywhere in the world and at all times that nations have always been governed monarchically, whether they were civilized or savage or something between the two. OUK aya 011 7TO"VKO,pct11t7}" Ets {3aat.\n)s. 1 s J








E"tS KOLpa.J10S E"UTW 1




How would it be possible at all for us to see many millions and even hundreds of millions, everywhere and at all times, the willing and obedient subjects of one man, or even occasionally of a woman, and provisionally even of a child, if there were not in man a monarchical instinct that urged him to that which is proper and suitable? For this is not the result of reflection; everywhere one man is the king and, as a rule, his dignity is hereditary. He is, so to speak, the personification or monogram of the whole people who in him attain individuality. In this sense he can rightly say: l'etat c'est moi. 1 6 For this reason, we see in Shakespeare's historical dramas the kings of England and France address each other as France and England, and also the Duke of Austria use the word Austria (King John, Act III, Sc. 1 ), regarding themselves, so to speak, as the incarnation of their nationalities. This is precisely in accordance with human nature and therefore the hereditary monarch cannot possibly separate the welfare of himself and his family from that of the country, as is the case, on the other hand, with those who arc elected, in the States of the Church for instance. The Chinese can conceive of only a monarchical government; they simply do not understand what a republic is. When a Dutch legation was in China in 1658, it was obliged to represent the Prince of Orange as its king; otherwise the Chinese would have been inclined to regard Holland as a nest of pirates living without a lord or master. (See Jean Nieuhoff, L'Ambassade de Ia compagnie orientale des Provinces unies vers l' Empereur de la Chine, translated by Jean le Charpentier, Leiden, 1665, chap. 45.) Stobaeus headed a zs ['Government by many is not a good thing; there should be only one ruler, one king.'] 16 ['I am the State.']



chapter of his own with the words: on ~eaAAtaTov -!] f.WVapxla. 17 (Florilegium, tit. 4 7; vol. ii, pp. 256-63), and in it he collected the best passages from the ancients wherein the advantages of the monarchy are explained. Republics are unnatural and artificial productions and have sprung from reflection; and so in the whole history of the world they occur only as rare exceptions. Thus there were the small republics of Greece, Rome, and Carthage which were all conditioned by the fact that five-sixths, or perhaps even seven-eighths, of the population consisted of slaves. Even in 1840, the United States of America had three million slaves to a population of sixteen millions. Moreover, the duration of the republics of antiquity was very short compared with that of monarchies. Republics generally are easy to establish, but difficult to maintain; with monarchies the very reverse is true. If we want Utopian plans, then I say that the only solution to the problem is a despotism of the wise and noble, of a genuine aristocracy and true nobility, attained on the path of generation by a union between the noblest men and the cleverest and most brilliant women. This is m;' idea of Utopia, my Republic of Plato. Constitutional kings undoubtedly resemble the gods of Epicurus who, without meddling in human affairs, sit up in their heaven in undisturbed bliss and serenity. They have now become the fashion, and in every petty German principality a parody of the English constitution is set up, complete with Upper and Lower Houses down to the Habeas Corpus Act and trial by jury. Proceeding from the English character and English circumstances and presupposing both, these forms are natural and appropriate to the English people. But it is just as natural for the German people to be divided into many branches under as many actually ruling princes, with an emperor over them all who maintains peace at home and represents the unity of the State abroad. These things are natural to the Germans because they have proceeded from the German character and German circumstances. I am of the opinion that, if Germany is not to meet Vwith the fate ofltalv, . . she must restore as effectivelv. as possible the imperial dignity that was abolished by her archenemy, the first Bonaparte. For German unity is bound up with 17

['On monarchy being the best thing.']



it, and without it will always be only nominal or precarious. But since we no longer live in the times of Gunther of Schwarzburg when the choice of an emperor was a serious business, the imperial throne should pass alternately to Austria and Prussia for the duration of the emperor's life. In any case, the absolute sovereignty of small states is illusory. Napoleon I did for Germany precisely what Otto the Great did for Italy (see Annotazione alta secchia rapita); that is to say, he divided it into small and independent states on the principle of divide et imperia. 1s The English show their great judgement in their sticking firmly and religiously to their ancient institutions, customs, and usages, even at the risk of carrying such tenacity to excess and making it ridiculous. They do so just because such things are not hatched out of an idle head, but have come gradually from the force of circumstances and the wisdom of life itself and are, therefore, suited to them as a nation. On the other hand, the German Fritz allows himself to be persuaded by his schoolmaster that he must go about in an English tailcoat and that nothing else will do. Accordingly, he bullies his father into giving him one and then looks ridiculous enough in it with his awkward manners and stiff nature. But the tail-coat will be for him too tight and uncomfortable, and indeed all too soon when he sits on a jury. Trial by jury came from the most barbarous English Middle Ages, from the times of Alfred the Great, when the ability to read and write still exempted a man from the death-penalty.* It is the worst of all criminal courts where, instead of learned and experienced judges who have grown grey in the daily unravelling of the tricks and dodges of thieves, murderers, and scoundrels and have thus learnt how to get on to the track of things, gaping tailors and shoemakers are to be found. It is hoped to find out the truth from the deceptive tissue of lies and pretence with the aid of their coarse, crude, unpractiscd, and dull intellect which is not even accustomed to any sustained attention, whereas all the time they are thinking of their doth and leather and are anxious to get home. They

* German. lawJ'tTS state that, under the Anglo-Saxon kings, there was still no jury in the proper sense, nor was there one under the first Norman kings; but that it was gradually perfected and first appeared as we know it between the reigns of Edward III and Henry IV. 18

['Set at variance and rule.']



have absolutely no clear idea of the difference between probability and certainty; on the contrary, they set up in their stupid heads a kind of calculus probabilium 19 whereby they then confidently condemn others to death. The remarks are applicable to them which Samuel Johnson made about a court-martial that had been convened to settle an important matter. He had little confidence in it and said that possibly not one of its members had ever in his life spent one hour by himself in balancing probabilities. (Boswell, Life of Johnson, ann. 1 78o, aetat. 71.) But does anyone suppose that tailors and shoemakers would be really impartial? The malignum vulgus 20 impartial? As if partiality and bias were not to be feared ten times more from those of the same class as the accused than from criminal judges who are complete strangers to him, live in an entirely different sphere, enjoy security of tenure, and are conscious of the dignity of their office. But now to allow crimes against the State and its head and also offences against the press laws to be tried by jury, is really like setting a thief to catch a thief.

§ 128 Everywhere and at all times, there has been much discontent with governments, laws, and public institutions, but for the most part only because we are always ready to make these responsible for the misery that is inseparably bound up with human existence itself. For mythically speaking, it is the curse that was laid on Adam and through him on his whole race. But never has that false delusion been made more mendaciously and impudently than by the demagogues of the Jetztzeit. 21 Thus as the enemies of Christianity, such men are optimists; to them the world is an end in itself, and so in itself, that is, according to its natural constitution, is admirably arranged and a veritable abode of bliss. On the other hand, they attribute entirely to governments the crying and colossal evils of the world. They think that, if only governments did their duty, there would be a heaven on earth, in other words, that all could gorge, guzzle, ['Theory or calculus of probabilities'.] :w ['Spiteful mob.'] 2 • ['Of the present time' (Schopenhauer purposely used this expression by way of condemning cacophonous words to which he drew attention in his essay on the mutilation of the German language).] IQ



propagate, and die without effort and anxiety. For this is the paraphrase of their 'end in itself'; this is the goal of the 'endless progress of mankind' which they are never tired of proclaiming in pompous phrases.

§ 129 Formerly the mainstay of the throne was faith; today it is credit. The Pope himself may hardly attach more importance to the confidence of the faithful than to that of his creditors. If in former times men deplored the guilt of the world, they now look with dismay on the debts of the world; just as formerly they prophesied the Day of Judgement, so they now prophesy the great aE£aax6Etet, 22 universal State bankruptcy, confidently hoping, however, that they themselves will not live to see it.

§ 130 It is true that, ethically and rationally, the right of possession has an incomparably better foundation than has the right of birth. Yet the right of possession is akin to and part of that of birth; and hence it would hardly be possible to cut away the latter without endangering the former. The reason for this is that most property is inherited and is, therefore, a kind of birthright; just as the old nobility bears only the name of the family estate and so through this expresses merely its possession. Accordingly, if all owners of property were prudent instead of envious, they would also support the maintenance of the rights of birth. Therefore the nobility, as such, afford a double advantage, namely by helping to support the right of possession on the one hand, and the birthright of the king on the other. For the king is the first nobleman in the land and, as a rule, treats a nobleman as a humble relation, a treatment that is quite different from that shown to a commoner, however much he may be trusted. It is also quite natural for him to have more confidence in those whose ancestors were in most cases the first ministers and always the closest associates of his own. And so a nobleman rightly appeals to his name when, in the case of anything arousing suspicion, he repeats the assurance of his loyalty and devotion .u

['Repudiation of debts'.]



to his king. As my readers know, the character is certainly inherited from the father; and so it is narrow-minded and ridiculous to show no interest in whose son a man is.

§ 131 \'Vith rare exceptions, all women are inclined to be extravagant; and so every existing fortune must be protected from their folly, except in those rare cases where they thetnselves have earned it. For this very reason, I am of the opinion that women never grow up entirely and should always be under the actual care of a man, whether of a father, husband, son, or the State, as is the case in India. Accordingly, they should never be able to dispose arbitrarily of any property that they themselves have not earned. On the other hand, I regard it as unpardonable and pernicious folly to let a mother become even the appointed trustee and administratrix of her children's share of the father's inheritance. In most cases, such a woman will squander on her paramour all that the father of the children has earned out of consideration for them by the labour and industry of his whole life. It will be all the same whether or not she marries the man. Homer gives us this warning: Ola8a y&.p, otos 8vp.os iJ,j_ aT~8eaat yvvatKos· Kdvov f3ovAETat, olKov d¢€AAEtv, OS KEV oTrVlot, Jlalowv 8€ 7rpOTepwv Kai Kovp,8loto cf>lAoto , , fL€fLVTJT«t I I , 1:' ' \ \ - ZJ 0 VKETt TE 8VT)OTOS", OVOE fLET«/\1\~. (Odyss~,

xv. 2o-3.)

After the death of her husband, the actual mother often becomes a stepmother. Yet in general it is only stepmothers and not stepfathers who have such a bad reputation which has given rise to the word 'stepmotherly' ; 2 4 whereas there has never been any mention of stepfathcrly. Even in the time of Herodotus (lib. IV, c. 154), stepmothers had that reputation; and they have managed to retain it ever since. At all events, a woman always needs a guardian and should, therefore, never herself be one. But generally a wife who has not been fond of her husband will zJ ['Know what kind of a disposition dwells in woman's heart. She v.rill add only to the house of the man with whom she lives. When he is dead, she thinks no longer

of her children or of the consort of her youth and does not inquire about him.'] l.i [The German"lich means also grudging, niggard.]



not have any affection for the children she has had by him, that is to say, after the materna] love has passed which is merely instinctive and is therefore not to be credited to her moral qualities. Further, I am of the opinion that in a court of law a woman's evidence, caeteris paribus,zs should carry less weight than a man's so that, for example, two male witnesses would carry the same weight as three or even four female. For I believe that, taken as a whole, the female sex in a day spouts three times as many lies as does the male, and moreover with a show of plausibility and frankness which is quite beyond the reach of the male. The Mohammedans, of course, go too far in the other direction. A young educated Turk once said to me: 'We regard woman merely as the soil in which the seed is sown; and hence her religion is a matter of indifference. We can marry a Christian without requiring that she be converted.' When I asked him whether dervishes were married, he replied: 'Of course they are; the Prophet was married and they cannot hope to be holier than he.' Would it not be better if there were no days of rest at all, but as many more hours of rest instead? What a wholesome effect the sixteen hours of a tedious and therefore dangerous Sunday would have if twelve of them were divided among all the weekdays! Two hours on Sunday would always be enough for religious worship and more is hardly ever given to it, still less to devout meditation. The ancients had no weekly day of rest. But, of course, it would be very difficult actually to keep for the people these daily two hours of leisure that are purchased in this way and to protect them from interference.

§ 132 Ahasuerus, the wandering Jew, is nothing but the personification of the whole Jewish race. Since he sinned grievously against the Saviour and \'\rorld-Redeemer, he shall never be delivered from earthly existence and its burden and moreover shall wander homeless in foreign lands. This is just the flight and fate of the small Jewish race which, strange to relate, was driven from its native land some two thousand years ago and has ever since existed and wandered homeless. On the other as [' Other things being equal '.J



hand, many great and illustrious nations with which this pettifogging little nation cannot possibly be compared, such as the Assyrians, Medes, Persians, Phoenicians, Egyptians, Etruscans and others have passed to eternal rest and entirely disappeared. And so even today, this gens extorris, 26 this john Lackland among the nations, is to be found all over the globe, nowhere at home and nowhere strangers. Moreover, it asserts its nationality with unprecedented obstinacy and, mindful of Abraham who dwelt in Canaan as a stranger but who gradually became master of the whole land, as his God had promised him (Genesis 1 7: 8), it would also like to set foot somewhere and take root in order to arrive once more at a country, without which, of course, a people is like a ball floating in air.* Till then, it lives parasitically on other nations and their soil; but yet it is inspired with the liveliest patriotism for its own nation. This is seen in the very firm way in which Jews stick together on the principle of each for all and all for each, so that this patriotism sine patria inspires greater enthusiasm than does any other. The rest of the Jews are the fatherland of the Jew; and so he fights for them as he would pro ara et Jocis, 27 and no community on earth sticks so firmly together as does this. It follows from this that it is absurd to want to concede to them a share in the government or administration of any country. Originally amalgamated and one with their state, their religion is by no means the main issue here, but rather merely the bond that holds them together, the point de rallieme.nt,zs and the banner whereby they recognize one another. This is also seen in the fact that even the converted Jew who has been oaptized does not by any means bring upon himself the hatred and loathing of all the rest, as do all other • In the Old Testament, Numbers 13 ff. and Deuteronomy 2, we have an instructive example of the course of events in the gradual population of the earth, namely of the way in which mobile hordes who had emigrated sought to displace people already domiciled and occupied the good land. The latest step of this kind was the migration of population or rather conquest of America, in fact the continuous driving back of the Arn~rican aboriginals. We see it also in Australia. The role of the Jews in their settling in the Promised Land and that of the Romans in settling in Italy is essentially the same, namely that of a people who had immigrated and continually made war on their former neighbours, finally subduing them; only that the Romans carried their conquests incomparably further than did the Jews . .z6 .z 7 z.S

[' Refugee

race '.] ['for hearth and home'.] ['Rallying-point'.]



apostates. On the contrary, he continues as a rule to be their friend and companion and to regard them as his true countrymen, naturally with a few orthodox exceptions. Even in the case of the regular and solemn Jewish prayer for which ten must be present, a Jew turned Christian, but no other Christian, may be present if one of the ten is missing. The same holds good of all the other religious acts. The case would be even clearer if Christianity were to decline and cease altogether; for then the Jews would not on that account cease to exist and to hang together as Jews, separately and by themselves. Accordingly, it is an extremely superficial and false view to regard the Jews merely as a religious sect. But if, in order to countenance this error, Judaism is described by an expression borrowed from the Christian Church as 'Jewish Confession', then this is a fundamentally false expression which is deliberately calculated to mislead and should not be allowed at all. On the contrary, 'Jewish Nation' is the correct expression. The Jews have absolutely no confession; monotheism is part of their nationality and political constitution and is with them a matter of course. Indeed it is quite clear that monotheism and Judaism are convertible terms. The fact that the well-known faults attaching to the Jewish national character, of which a surprising absence of all that is expressed by the word verecundia 29 is the most conspicuous, although this fault is far more useful in the world than is perhaps any positive quality; the fact, I say, that such faults are to be attributed mainly to the long and unjust oppression they have suffered, excuses them, it is true, but does not do away with them. I am bound to praise absolutely the rational Jew who, on giving up old myths, humbug, and prejudices by being baptized, quits an association that brings him neither honour nor advantage (although the latter occurs in exceptional cases), even if he should not take the Christian faith very seriously. For is this not the case with every young Christian who repeats his credo at his confirmation? To save him even this step, however, and to bring to an end in the gentlest manner the whole tragi-comic state of affairs, the best way is certainly for marriages to be permitted and even encouraged between Jews and Gentiles. The Church cannot z9

['Modesty, shyness'.]



object to this for there is the authority of the apostle himself (I Corinthians 7: 12-1 6). Then in the course of a hundred years, there will be only a very few Jews left and soon the ghost will be exorcized. Ahasuerus will be buried and the chosen people will not know where their abode was. This desirable result, however, will be frustrated if the emancipation of the Jews is carried to the point of their obtaining political rights, and thus an interest in the administration and government of Christian countries. For then they will be and remain Jews really only con amore. Justice demands that they should enjoy with others equal civil rights; but to concede to them a share in the running of the State is absurd. They are and remain a foreign oriental race, and so must always be regarded merely as domiciled foreigners. When some twenty-five years ago the emancipation of the Jews was debated in the English Parliament, a speaker put forward the following hypothetical case. An English Jew comes to Lisbon where he meets two men in extreme want and distress; yet it is only in his power to save one of them. Personally to him they are both strangers. Yet if one of them is an Englishman but a Christian, and the other a Portuguese but a Jew, whom will he save? I do not think that any sensible Christian and any sincere Jew will be in doubt as to the answer. But it gives us some indication of the rights to be conc~ded to the Jews.

In no affair does religion intervene so directly and obviously in practical and material life as in the oath. It is bad enough that in this way the life and property of one man are made dependent on the metaphysical convictions of another. Now if, as is to be feared, at some future date all religions were to decline and all faith to cease, how would it then be with regard to the oath? It is, therefore, worth while to inquire whether there is not a purely moral significance of the oath which is independent of all positive faith and is yet to be reduced to clear concepts, and which, as something supremely sacred in pure gold, might surpass that universal brand of the Church; although compared with the pomp and pithy language of the religious oath, it might appear to be somewhat bald and dispassionate.



The undoubted aim of the oath is to counter in a merely moral way the all-too-frequent duplicity and mendacity of man by making him vividly conscious of the moral obligation, acknowledged by him, to speak the truth, after he has been strengthened by some extraordinary consideration which here arises. I will endeavour to make clear in accordance with my ethics the purely moral sense of the emphasis of this duty, a sense that will be free from everything transcendent and mythical. In my chief work, volume i, § 62, and in greater detail in my prize-essay 'On the Basis of Ethics', § 1 7, I have laid down the paradoxical yet true principle that in certain cases a man is granted the right to tell a lie, and I have supported it by means of a detailed explanation and argument. Those cases are where (a) he had the right to use force against others and (b) wholly unauthorized questions were put to him framed in such a way that he would jeopardize his interests as much by refusing to answer them as by giving a straightforward reply. Just because in such cases there is undoubtedly a justification to tell a lie, it is necessary in important matters whose decision depends on a man's statement and also in promises whose fulfilment is of great importance, for him first to make an express and solemn declaration that, in this particular instance, he does not admit the existence of the above-mentioned cases; that he therefore knows and realizes that here no violence is being done to him or threatened but right prevails; likewise that he admits that the question put to him is fully authorized; and finally that he is aware that everything depends on his present statement concerning the question. This declaration implies that, if in such circumstances a man tells a lie, he is committing a grave wrong and is clearly conscious of so doing. For now he is in the position of one in whose honesty and integrity confidence has been placed, and to whom has been given in this instance full authority which he can use equally for doing right or wrong. Now if he tells a lie, he is clearly conscious of being one who, when he has free authority, uses this with the coolest deliberation for the purpose of doing wrong. Peijury furnishes him with this testimony about himself. Now there is in addition the circumstance that, since no man is without the need for some kind of metaphysics, everyone carries the conviction, though



vague, that the world has not merely a physical, but at the same time and in some way a metaphysical, significance and also that, in regard to such significance, our individual conduct, according to its merely moral aspect, has consequences quite different from, and far more important than, those accruing to it by virtue of its empirical effectiveness, and is, therefore, really of transcendent significance. I refer here to my prize-essay 'On the Basis of Ethics', § 21, and merely add that the man who denies that his own conduct has any other than empirical significance, will never make the statement without feeling an inner conflict therewith and exercising self-restraint. Summoning a man to take an oath now places him explicitly in the position where he has to regard himself in this sense as a merely moral being, conscious of the extreme importance to himself of the decisions he has given in this capacity. In this way, all other considerations with him should now dwindle away to vanishing point. It is immaterial here whether the conviction, thus aroused, of a metaphysical, and at the same time moral, significance of our existence is only felt in a dull way, or is clothed and hence animated in all kinds of myths and fables, or else is brought to the clearness of philosophical thought. Again, it follows from this that, essentially, it is not a question whether the form of the oath expresses this or that mythological connection, or is entirely abstract, like theje lejure3° that is customary in France. The form should be selected in accordance with the degree of mental development of the man who is taking the oath, just as it is chosen according to the difference of his positive belief. If the matter is considered in this way, then even the man professing no religion could very well be permitted to take an oath. 3o ['I swear on oath'.]


On the Doctrine of the lndestructibilitv• of our True Nature by Death § 134 Although I have dealt with this subject consistently and fully in my chief work, I still think that a further short selection of isolated observations will always throw some light on that discussion and will not be without value to many a reader. One must read Jean Paul's Selina to see how an exceedingly eminent mind wrestles with the absurdities of a false conception which obtrude themselves on him, and how he will not give it up because he has set his heart on it and yet is always disturbed by the inconsistencies he is unable to digest. I refer to the conception of the continued individual existence of our entire personal consciousness after death. It is just that wrestling and struggling of Jean Paul's which show that such notions, made up of \vhat is false and true, are not wholesome errors as is maintained; they are, on the contrary, decidedly harmful and pernicious. For the true knowledge, based on the contrast between phenomenon and thing-in-itself, of the indestructibility of our real nature-· a nature that is untouched by time, causality, and change-is rendered impossible by the false contrast between body and soul as also by raising the whole personality to a thing-in-itself that is said to last for ever. Not only is this the case, but also that false conception cannot even be definitely regarded as the representative of truth because our faculty of reason constantly rebels at the absurdity that underlies it, and in so doing has also to give up the truth that is amalgamated with it. For in the long run, what is true can exist only in all its purity; mixed with errors, it partakes of their weakness, just as granite disintegrates when its feldspar is decayed, although quartz and mica are not subject to such decay. The substitutes of truth are, therefore, in a bad way.



§ 1 35 If in daily intercourse we are asked, by one of the many who would like to know everything but who will learn nothing, about continued existence after death, the most suitable answer and above all the most correct would be: 'Mter vour death vou will be what you were before your birth.' For it implies the absurdity of the demand that the kind of existence which has a beginning ought to be without an end; but in addition it contains the hint that there may be two kinds of existence and accordingly two kinds of nothing. However, we could also reply: 'Whatever you will be after your death, and it might be nothing, will then be just as natural and appropriate to you as is your individual organic existence to you now; and so at most you might have to fear the moment of transition. Indeed, as a mature consideration of the matter leads to the result that complete nonexistence would be preferable to an existence such as ours, the thought of a cessation of our existence, or of a time when we shall no longer exist, cannot reasonably disturb us any more than can the idea that we might never have come into existence. Now as this existence is essentially personal, the end of the personality is accordingly not to be regarded as a loss.' On the other hand, the man who had followed the plausible thread of materialism on the objective and empirical path, and now turned to us in terror at the total destruction through death which stared him in the face, would probably derive from us some consolation in the briefest manner and in keeping with his empirical way of thinking, if we pointed out to him the difference between matter and the metaphysical force that is always temporarily taking possession thereof. For instance, we could show him how, as soon as the proper temperature occurs, the homogeneous formless fluid in the bird's egg assumes the complex and precisely determined shape of the genus and species of its bird. To a certain extent, this is indeed a kind of generatio aequivoca; and it is exceedingly probable that the ascending series of animal forms arose from the fact that, once in primeval times and at a happy hour, it jumped to a higher type from that of the animal to which the egg belonged. At all events, something different from matter most definitely makes its appearance here, especially as, with the smallest unfavourI




able circumstance, it fails to appear. In this way, it becomes obvious that, after an operation that is completed or subsequently impeded, this something can also depart just as unimpaired from matter. This suggests a permanence of quite a different kind from that of the persistence of matter in time.

§ 136 No individual is calculated to last for ever; it is swallowed up in death; yet in this way we lose nothing, for underlying the individual existence is one quite different whose manifestation it is. This other existence knows no time and so neither duration nor extinction. If we picture to ourselves a being who knew, understood, and took in at a glance everything, the question whether we continued to exist after death would probably have for him no meaning at all, since beyond our present, temporal, individual existence duration and cessation would no longer have any significance and would be indistinguishable concepts. Accordingly, neither the concept of extinction nor that of duration would have any application to our true nature, or to the thingin-itself manifesting itself in our phenomenal appearance, since such concepts are borrowed from time that is merely the form of the phenomenon. However, we can picture to ourselves the indestructibility of that core of our phenomenon only as a continued existence of it and really in accordance with the schema of matter as that which persists and continues in time under all the changes of forms. Now if we deny to that core this continued existence, then we regard our temporal end as an annihilation in accordance with the schema of form that vanishes when the matter carrying it is withdrawn from it. Yet both are a p.Er&f3ca:n;; El~ aMo ylvo~, J a transference of the forms of the phenomenon to the thing-in-itself. But we can hardly form even an abstract notion of an indestructibility that would not be a continuance, because we lack all intuitive perception for verifying such a notion. In point of fact, however, the constant arising of new beings and the perishing of those that exist are to be regarded as an illusion, produced by the apparatus of two polished lenses ' ['Transition to another genus'.]



(brain-functions) through which alone we are able to see something. They are called space and time and, in their mutual interpenetration, causality. For all that we perceive under these conditions is mere phenomenon; but we do not know how things may be in themselves, that is, independently of our perception. This is really the core of the Kantian philosophy; and we cannot too often call to mind that philosophy and its contents, after a period in which mercenary charlatanry had by its process of obscurantism driven philosophy from Germany with the willing help of those for whom truth and intellect are the least important matters in the world, whereas salaries and fees are the weightiest. This existence, which is in no way concerned with the death of the individual, does not have time and space as its forms, but everything that for us is real appears therein; and so to us death manifests itself as an annihilation.

Everyone feels that he is something different from a being whom another once created out of nothing. From this there arises for him the assurance that death may bring to an end his life but not his existence. By virtue of the cognitive form of time, man (i.e. the affirmation of the will-to-live at the highest stage of its objectification) appears as a race of human beings who are always being born afresh and then dying. Man is something different from an animated nothing; and so too is the animal. How can we imagine, on seeing the death of a human being, that here a thing-in-itself becomes rwthing? On the contrary, that only a phenomenon comes to an end in time, this form of all phenomena, without the thing-in-itself being thereby affected, is the immediate intuitive knowledge of everyone. Therefore at all times, attempts have been made to state it in the most varied forms and expressions all of which, however, are taken from the phenmnenon in its proper sense and merely refer thereto. Whoever imagines that his existence is limited to his present life considers himself to be an animated nothing; for thirty



years ago he was nothing and thirty years hence he will again be nothing. If we had a complete knowledge of our own true nature through and through to its innermost core, we should regard it as ridiculous to demand the immortality of the individual, since this would be equivalent to giving up that true inner nature in exchange for a single one of its innumerable manifestations, or fulgurations.

§ 138 The more clearly conscious a man is of the frailty, vanity, and dreamlike nature of all things, the more clearly aware is he also of the eternity of his own true inner nature. For really only in contrast thereto is that dreamlike nature of things known; just as we perceive the rapid motion of the ship we are in only by looking at the fixed shore and not at the ship itself.

§ 139 The present has two halves, an objective and a subjective. The objective half alone has as its form the intuition of time and therefore rolls on irresistibly; the subjective half stands firm and is, therefore, always the same. From this arise our vivid recollection of what is long past and the consciousness of our immortality, in spite of the knowledge of the fleeting nature of our existence. From my initial proposition:' the world is my representation', we have, to begin with, the proposition: 'first I am and then the world'. We should stick firmly to this as an antidote to confusing death with annihilation. Everyone thinks that his innermost core is something that contains and carries about the present moment. Whenever we may happen to live, we always stand with our consciousness in the centre of time, never at its extremities; and from this we might infer that everyone carries within himself the immovable centre of the whole of infinite time. At bottom, it is this that gives him the confidence with which he goes on living without the constant dread of death. Now whoever is able most vividly to conjure up in his own mind, by virtue of the strength of his memory and imagination, that which is long past in the course of his life, becomes more clearly conscious than



others of the identiry of the now in all time. Perhaps even the converse of this proposition is more correct. But at all events, such a more vivid consciousness of the identity of all now is an essential requirement for a philosophical turn of mind. By means of it, we apprehend that which is the most fleeting of all things, the Now, as that which alone persists. Now whoever is aware in this intuitive way that the present moment, the sole form of all reality in the narrowest sense, has its source in us and thus springs from within and not from without, cannot have any doubt about the indestructibilitv of his own true nature. On the ' contrary, he will grasp that, with his death, the objective world together with the intellect, the medium of its presentation, certainly does perish for him, but that this does not affect his existence; for there was just as much reality within as without. He will say with perfect understanding: lyw £lftt 7Tfiv ro y£yovos, Kat ov, Ked. laoftGov.z (See Stobaeus, Florilegium, tit. 44,42; vol. i, p. 201.) \.Vhoever refuses to admit all this, must assert the contrary and say: 'Time is something purely objective and real, existing quite independently of me. I am thrown into it only accidentally, have got possession of a small portion of it, and have thus arrived at a transient reality just as did thousands of others before me who are now no more, and I too shall very soon be nothing. Time, on the other hand, is that which is real; it then goes on without me.' I think that the fundamental absurdity of such a view is obvious from the definite way in which it has been expressed. In consequence of all this, life may certainly be regarded as a dream and death as an awakening. But then the personality, the individual, belongs to the dreaming and not to the waking consciousness; and so death presents itself to the former as annihilation. Yet at all events, from this point of view death is not to be regarded as the transition to a state that to us is entirely new and strange, but rather only as the return to our own original state, of which life was only a brief episode. If, however, a philosopher should perhaps imagine that in dying he would find a consolation peculiar to him alone, or at z ['I am all that was, and is, and will be.' (Inscription on the temple of Isis at Sais.)]



any rate a diversion in the fact that for him a problem would be solved on which he had been so often engaged, then probably he would be no better off than the man whose lamp is blown out when he is just on the point of finding the thing he has been looking for. For in death consciousness assuredly perishes, but certainly not that which had till then produced it. Thus consciousness rests primarily on the intellect, but this on a physiological process. For it is obviously the function of the brain and, therefore, conditioned by the co-operation of the nervous and vascular systems, n10re specifically by the brain that is nourished, animated, and constantly agitated by the heart. It is through the ingenious and mysterious structure of the brain which anatomy describes but physiology does not understand, that the phenomenon of the objective world and the whole mechanism of our thoughts are brought about. An individual consciousness and thus a consciousness in general is not conceivable in an immaterial or incorporeal being, since the condition of every consciousness, knowledge, is necessarily a brain-function really because the intellect manifests itself objectively as brain. Therefore just as the intellect appears physiologically and consequently in empirical reality, that is, in the phenomenon, as something secondary, as a result of the life-process, so too psychologically it is secondary, in contrast to the will that is alone the primary and everywhere the original thing. Even the organism itself is really only the will m~nifesting itself intuitively and objectively in the brain and consequently in the brain-forms of space and time, as I have often explained especially in the essay On the Will in .Nature and in my chief work, volume ii, chapter 20. Therefore as consciousness is not directly dependent on the will, but is conditioned by the intellect, the latter being conditioned by the organism, there is no doubt that consciousness is extinguished by death, as also by sleep and every fainting fit.* But let us take courage! for what kind of a consciousness is this? A cerebral animal consciousness, one that is somewhat more highly developed, animal in so far as we have it essentially in common with the whole animal kingdom, although in us it • It would, of course, be delightful if the intellect did not perish with death, for we should then bring ready and complete into the next world aU the Greek we had learnt in this.



reaches its summit. As I have shown often enough, as regards its origin and purpose, this consciousness is a mere P.TJXCt.vrJ of nature, a remedy or expedient for helping our animal essence to satisfy its needs. On the other hand, the condition into which death returns us is our original state, that is, the one peculiar to our true nature whose primary force manifests itself in the production and maintenance of the life that is now ceasing. Thus it is the condition or state of the thing-in-itself in contrast to the phenomenon. Now in this original state, such an expedient as cerebral knowledge, as being extremely mediate and therefore furnishing mere phenomena, is without doubt entirely superfluous; and so we lose it. Its disappearance is identical with the cessation for us of the phenomenal world, whose mere mediun1 it was, and it can serve no other purpose. If in this original state of ours the retention of that animal consciousness were even offered to us, we should reject it, just as a lame man who had been cured would scorn to use crutches. Therefore whoever deplores the impending loss of this cerebral consciousness that is merely phenomenal and adapted to the phenomenal, is comparable to the converted Greenlanders who did not want heaven when they heard that no seals were there. Moreover, all that is said here rests on the assumption that we cannot even picture to ourselves a not unconscious state except as one of knowing which consequently carries within itself the fundamental form of all knowledge, the separation into subject and object, into a knower and a known. But we have to bear in mind that this entire form of knowing and being known is conditioned merely by our animal, and therefore very secondary and derived, nature and is thus by no means the original state of all essence and existence, a state that may, therefore, be quite different and yet not without consciousmss. However, in so far as we are able to pursue our own present nature to its innermost core, even it is mere will, but this in itself is something without knowledge. Now if through death we forfeit the intellect, we are thereby shifted only into the original state which is without knowledge, but is not for that reason absolutely without consciousmss; on the contrary, it will be a state that is raised above and beyond that (orm where the contrast between subject and object vanishes because that which is to be known would here be actually and immediately identical with the knower himself;



and thus the fundamental condition of all knowing (that very contrast) is wanting. By way of elucidation, this may be compared with World as Will and Representation, volume ii, chapter 22. Giordano Bruno's statement is to be regarded as another expression of what is said here and in that work: La divina mente, e la unita assoluta, senza specie alcuna eella medesima lo che intende, e lo ch'e inteso.J (Ed. \Vagner, vol. i, p. 287.) Fron1 time to time, everyone will perhaps feel in his heart of hearts a consciousness that an entirely different kind of existence would really suit him rather than this one which is so unspeakably wretched, temporal, transient, individual, and preoccupied with nothing but misery and distress. On such an occasion, he then thinks that death might lead him back to that other existence.

Now if, in contrast to this method of consideration which is directed inwards, we again look outwards and apprehend quite objectively the world that presents itself to us, then death certainly appears to be a passing into nothing; but, on the other hand, birth is apparently a proceeding out of nothing. Yet the one like the other cannot be unconditionally true, since it has only the reality of the phenomenon. That in some sense we should survive death is certainly not a greater tniracle than that of generation which we daily see before us. That which dies passes away to the source whence all life comes, its own included. In this sense, the Egyptians called Orcus which according to Plutarch (De l'iis et Osiris, chap. 29), signifies o Aaf'f3avwv Kat s,Sov~, 'the taker and the giver', in order to express that it is the same source whither everything returns and whence everything proceeds. From this point of view, our life might be regarded as a loan received from death; sleep would then be the daily interest on that loan. Death openly proclaims itself as the end of the individual, but in him there dwells the seed for a new being. Accordingly, of all that dies, nothing dies for ever; but also nothing that is born receives an entirely and ['The divine mind, the absolute unity without any distinctions, is in itself that which knows and that which is known.'] 3



fundamentally new existence. That which dies perishes, but a seed is left behind out of which a new being proceeds; and this now enters existence without knowing whence it comes and why it is precisely as it is. This is the mystery of palingenesis and chapter 41 of volume ii of my chiefwork may be regarded as its explanation. It is accordingly clear to us that all beings living at this moment contain the real kernel of all that will live in the future; and so to a certain extent these future beings already exist. Similarly, every anin1al standing before us in the prime of life seems to exclaim to us: 'Why do you complain of the fleeting nature of all those who are alive? How could I exist if all those of n1y species who existed before me had not died?' Accordingly, however much the plays and masks may change on the world's stage, the actors in all of them nevertheless remain the same. We sit together, talk, and excite one another; eyes gleam and voices grow louder. Thousands of years ago, others sat in just the same way; it was the same and they were the same. It will be just the same thousands of years hence. The contrivance that prevents us from becoming aware of this is

time. We might very well distinguish between metempsychosis as the transition of the entire so-called soul into another body, and palingenesis as the disintegration and new formation of the individual, since his will alone persists and, assutning the shape of a new being, receives a ne\\-' intellect. The individual, therefore, decomposes like a neutral salt whose base then combines with another acid to form a new salt. The difference between metempsychosis and palingenesis which is assumed by Servius, the commentator of Virgil, and is briefly stated in Wernsdorf's Dissertatio de metempsych.osi, p. 48, is obviously false and valueless. From Spence Hardy's lvfanual of Budh.ism (pp. 394-6, to be compared with pp. 429, 4-40, and 445 of the same book) and also from Sangermano's Burmese Empire, p. 6, as well as the Asiatic Researches, vol. vi, p. 179 and vol. ix, p. 256, it appears that there are in Buddhism, as regards continued existence after death, an exoteric and an esoteric doctrine. The former is just metempsychosis as in Brahmanism, but the latter is a palingenesis which is much more difficult to understand and is very much in agreement with my doctrine of the metaphysical permanence of the will in spite of the intellect's physical constitution and



fleeting nature in keeping therewith. ll«Atyy£v£ala occurs even in the New Testament.4 Now if, to penetrate more deeply into the mystery of palingenesis, we make use of my chief work, volume ii, chapter 43, the matter, more closely considered, will then appear to be that, throughout all time, the male sex has been the guardian or keeper of the will of the human species, the female sex being the guardian of the intellect, whereby the human species then obtains perennial existence. Accordingly, everyone now has a paternal and a maternal element; and just as these were united through generation, so are they disintegrated in death; and so death is the end of the individual. This individual it is whose death we deplore so much, feeling that he is actually lost because he was a mere combination which irretrievably ceases. Yet in all this we must not forget that the inheritableness of the intellect from the mother is not so decided and absolute as is that of the will from the father, on account of the secondary and merely physical nature of the intellect and of its entire dependence on the organism, not only in respect of the brain, but also otherwise. All this has been discussed in the above-mentioned chapter of my chief work. Incidentally, it may be mentioned here that I am in agreement with Plato in so far as he distinguishes in the so-called soul between a mortal and an immortal part. But he is diametrically opposed to me and to truth when, after the manner of all philosophers prior to me, he regards the intellect as the immort~l part, the will, on the contrary, that is, the seat of the appetites and passions, as the mortal. We see this in the Timaeus, pp. 386, 387, and 395, ed. Bip. Aristotle states the same thing.* But however strangely and precariously the physical Inay prevail through generation and death, together with the obvious constitution of individuals from will and intellect and the subsequent dissolution of these, the metaphysical underlying

* De anima (1. 4, p. 408), right at the beginning, he lets out incidentally his own opinion that the voiJs is the real soul tmd immortal, which he supports with false assertions. He says that hati1lg and loving belong not to the soul, but to its organ, the perishable part! • [' Regeneration'_ In the N. T. the word does not express either metempsychosis or indestructibility of the will through death. In general, it is found only in two passages, Matthew 19: 28 in the sense of' resurrection of the dead', and Titus 3: 5, in the sense of'conversion of the old man into the new'.] ·



the physical is of a nature so entirely different that it is not affected by this and we may take courage. Accordingly, every man can be considered fron1 two opposite points of view; from the one, he is an individual, beginning and ending in time, fleeting and transitory, OKLiiS Olletp,S besides being afflicted with pangs and failings; from the other, he is the indestructible primary being that objectifies itself in every existing thing and as such can say like the statue of Isis at Sais: £yw ~lftt 7Tf5.v -ro y~yov:· On page 3 I 2: L..ILO Kat.' yap.1JG€U' K(XL rrato07TOL'T)G€G at, Kat 1TOI\LT£VG• €a8at etc. Kat Ka8oAov T~V apErryv ctGKOVJ!Ta Kat J.LEVHV EV Ttp f3£CfJ, I












Kat 1Tcti\LV,







S: > >




\ \

at-•ayKct') a1Tal\l\a'}'1Ja€a




T•.vp7JS 7rpOVO-


etc. (Ideoque et uxorem, et liberos procreaturum, et ad civitatem accessumm etc. atque omnino virtutem colendo tum vitam servaturum, tum iterum, cogente necessitate, relicturum etc.) s We find suicide extolled as a noble and heroic action even bv ' the Stoics, as can be proved from hundreds of passages, the most vigorous of which arc from Seneca. Further with the Hindus, it is well known that suicide often occurs as a religious action, particularly as widow-burning, selt:destruction under the wheels of the Juggernaut Car, self-sacrifice to the crocodiles of the Ganges or the sacred temple-tanks, and otherwise. It is precisely the same at the theatre, that mirror of life; for example, in the celebrated Chinese play L'Orphelin de la Chine (translated by Saint-Julien, 1834), we see almost all the noble characters end in suicide without there being any suggestion or its occurring to the spectator that they had committed a crime. In fact, at bottom on our own stage it is not otherwise, for example, Palmira in Mahomet, Mortimer in Maria Stuart, Othello, Countess Terzky. And Sophocles says: \ I \: I 1\VUEL p, >o< oatp,(JJJ',



' \ Eyw

EI\W. 6

() 1\

Is Hamlet's monologue the meditation of a crime? He merely states that, if we were sure of being absolutely annihilated by death, we would undoubtedly choose it in view of the state of the world.' Ay, there's the rub.' 7 But the reasons against suicide 'fbat the good must quit life when their· misfortune is too great, but the bad also when their good fortune is too great'.] s ['Therefore a man must marry, have children, devote himself to the service of the State, and generally preserve his life in the cultivation of skill and ability, but again quit it under the compulsion of necessity.'] 6 ['God will release me when I myself wish it.' (Not Sophocles, but Euripides, Bacchae, 498.)] 1 [Hamlet, Act m, Sc. 1.] 4 ('


which are advanced by the clergy of the monotheistic, i.e. Jewish, religions and by the philosophers who accommodate themselves to them, are feeble sophisms which can easily be refuted. (See my essay On the Basis of Ethics, § 5.) The most thorough refutation of then1 has been furnished by Hume in his essay On Suicide, which first appeared after his death and was at once suppressed in England by the disgraceful bigotry and scandalous power of the parsons. And so only a few copies were sold secretly and at a high price, and for the preservation of this and another essay by that great man we are indebted to the Basel reprint: Essays on Suicide and the Immortality of the Soul, by the late David H ume, Basel, I 799, sold by James Decker, I 24 pp., 8vo. But that a purely philosophical essay, coldly and rationally refuting the current reasons against suicide and coming from one of the leading thinkers and authors of England, had to be secretly smuggled through that country like a forbidden thing until it found refuge abroad, brings great discredit on the English nation. At the same time, it shows what kind of a conscience the Church has on this point. I have expounded in my chief work, volume one, § 69, the only valid moral reason against suicide. It lies in the fact that suicide is opposed to the attainment of the highest moral goal since it substitutes for the real salvation from this world of woe and misery one that is merely apparent. But it is still a very long way from this aberration to a crime, such as the Christian clergy would like to stamp it. In its innermost core, Christianity bears the truth that suffering (the Cross) is the real purpose of life; and therefore as suicide opposes such purpose, Christianity rejects it, whereas antiquity, from a lower point of view, approved and even honoured it. That reason against suicide is, however, ascetic and therefore applies only to an ethical standpoint much higher than that which European moral philosophers have ever occupied. But if we descend from that very high point, there is no longer any valid moral reason for condemning suicide. It seems, therefore, that the extraordinarily lively zeal of the clergy of the monotheistic religions against suicide,* a zeal that is not * On

this point all are unanimous. According to Rousseau, Oeuvres, vol. IV, p. 275, Augustine and Lactantius were the first to declart: suicide to be a sin. but took their argument from Plato's Phaedo ( 139), since shown to be as trite as it is utterly groundless, that we are on duty or are slaves of the gods.



supported either by th~ Bible or by valid grounds, must have a hidden foundation. Might it not be that the voluntary giving up of life is a poor compliment to him who said 7TctvTa KMa >..tav? 8 So once again, it is the customary and orthodox optimism of these religions which denounces suicide in order not to be denounced by it.

On the whole, we shall find that, as soon as a point is reached where the terrors of life outweigh those of death, man puts an end to his life. The resistance of the latter is nevertheless considerable; they stand, so to speak, as guardians at the gate of exit. Perhaps there is no one alive who would not already have made an end of his life if such an end were something purely negative, a sudden cessation of existence. But it is something positive, namely the destruction of the body, and this frightens people back just because the body is the phenomenon of the will-to-live. However, the struggle with those guardians is not, as a rule, so difficult as it may seem from a distance and indeed in consequence of the antagonism between mental and bodily sufferings. Thus if physically we suffer very severely or continuously, we become indifferent to all other troubles; only our recovery is uppermost in our thoughts. In the same way, severe mental suffering makes us indifferent to physical; we treat it with contempt. In fact, if physical suffering should predominate, this is a wholesome diversion, a pause in the n1ental suffering. It is precisely this that makes suicide easier, since the physical pain associated with this loses all importance in the eyes of one who is tormented by an excessive an10unt of mental suffering. This becomes particularly noticeable in those who are driven to suicide through a purely morbid deep depression. It does not cost such men any self-restraint at all; they need not make a resolute rush at it, but, as soon as the warder appointed to look after them leaves them for two minutes, they quickly put £}n end to their life. s ['(And God saw) every thing (that he had made, and behold, it) was very good.' (Genesis 1 : 3 1.)]



§ 1 59 If in heavy horrible dreams anxiety reaches its highest degree, it causes us to wake up, whereby all those monstrous horrors of the night vanish. The same thing happens in the dream of life when the highest degree of anxiety forces us to break it off. § r6o Suicide can also be regarded as an experiment, a question we put to nature and try to make her answer, namely what change the existence and knowledge of man undergo through death. But it is an awkward experiment, for it abolishes the identity of the consciousness that would have to listen to the answer.


Additional Remarks on the Doctrine of the Affirmation and Denial of the Will-to-Live §


To a certain extent, it can be seen a priori, vulgo it is self-evident, that that which now produces the phenomenon of the world must also be capable of not doing this and consequently of remaining at rest; in other words, that to the present St a8vva'TOJ.I Elvat I6 will always be true. Now authority is established by time and circumstances alone; and so we cannot bestow it on that which has in its favour nothing but reasons and arguments. Consequently, we must grant it to that which has obtained it in the course of history, although this may be only truth that is presented in an allegorical form. Now supported by authority, this form of truth appeals first to the really metaphysical tendency in man and thus to the theoretical need that arises from the pressing enigma of our existence and from the consciousness that, behind the physical aspect of the world, there must somehow be something metaphysical, something unchangeable, which serves as the basis of constant change. Then again this kind of truth appeals to the will, to the fear and hope of mortals who live in constant sorrow and affiiction. It accordingly creates for them gods and demons whom they can invoke and appease and whose favour they can win. Finally, it appeals to that moral consciousness undeniably existing in m'an and gives confirmation and support to this from without. In the absence of such support, that moral consciousness could not easily maintain itself in the struggle with so many temptations. It is precisely from this side that religion affords an inexhaustible source of consolation and comfort in the innumerable sorrows and afflictions of life, which does not forsake man even in death, but rather reveals at precisely this time its full effectiveness. Accordingly, religion resembles one who takes by the hand a blind man and leads him; for he himself cannot see and the main thing is that he should reach his destination, not that he should see everything. PHILALETHES: This side is certainly the brilliant point of religion. If it is afraus, 11 then it is really a piafraus; •s that is undeniable. Accordingly, for us, priests become something between impostors and teachers of morals. For, as you yourself have quite rightly explained, they dare not teach the real truth even if it were known to them, which is not the case. Thus at all events there may be a true philosophy, but certainly not a true religion; I mean true in the proper sense of the word and not merely so 16 11


['It is impossible for the cro ...:d to be philosophically enlightened.'] ['Fraud'.] ['Pious fraud'.]



through the flower or allegory, as you have described it; on the contrary, in this sense, every religion will be true, only in different degrees. But it is certainly quite in keeping with the inextricable mixture of prosperity and misfortune, honesty and deceit, good and evil, magnanimity and meanness, which the world generally offers us, that the most important, sublime, and sacred truth cannot appear except in combination with a lie, indeed can even borrow strength therefrom as from that which has a more powerful effect on men and, as revelation, must be introduced by a lie. One might even consider this fact as the monogram of the moral world. However, we will not abandon hope that one day mankind will reach the point of maturity and culture where it is able to produce the true philosophy on the one hand, and to assimilate it on the other. Yet if simplex sigillum veri, 19 the naked truth must be so simple and intelligible that one must be able to impart it in its true form to all without amalgamating it with myths and fables (a pack oflies), in other words, without disguising it in the form of religion. DEMOPHELES: You have no adequate conception of the pitiable incapacity of the masses. PHILALETHES: I am expressing it only as a hope, but I cannot give it up. Then truth in a simple and intelligible form would naturally drive religion from the place which the latter had so long occupied as deputy but had in precisely this way kept open for the former. Religion will then have fulfilled its mission and completed its course; it can then dismiss the race that it has brought to years of discretion and itself expire in peace; such will be the euthanasia of religion. But as long as religion lives, it has two faces, one of truth and one of deception. According as we look at the one or the other, we shall be friendly or hostile to it. We must, therefore, regard religion as a necessary evil, the necessity of which rests on the deplorable feeble-mindedness of the great majority who are incapable of grasping the truth and so, in an urgent case, need a substitute for it. DEMOPHELES: Really, one would imagine that you philosophers already had truth cut and dried and that the only thing to do was to grasp it. PHILALETI-IES: If we have not got the truth, this is to be attributed mainly to the pressure under which, at all times and in all 19

['Simplicity is the seal of truth.']


countries, philosophy has been kept by religion. 1\tlen have tried to render impossible not only the expression and communication of truth, but even the contemplation and discovery thereof by putting children in their earliest years into the hands of the priests to have their minds manipulated by them. The track, whereon the fundamental ideas are to run in future, is laid down by the priests with such firmness that, in the main, such ideas are fixed and definite for the whole of life. When I take up the works of even the most eminent minds of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, I must confess to being sometimes shocked, especially when I come. from my oriental studies, to see how they are everywhere paralysed and hemmed in on all ·sides by the fundamental Jewish conception. I ask myself how anyone with such a preparation can think out the true philosophy. DEMOPHELES: And even if this true philosophy were discovered, religion would not then disappear from the world, as you imagine. For there cannot be one system of metaphysics for all; the natural difference in intellectual powers and the additional difference in their development will never admit of this. The great majority must necessarily attend to the heavy physical labour that is inevitably required for procuring the infinite number of things that are needed by the whole race. Not only does this leave them no time for education, learning, or contemplation, but, in virtue of the decided antagonism between irritability and sensibility, much intense physical exertion blunts the mind, makes it heavy, dull, clumsy, awkward, and thus incapable of grasping any other than quite simple and palpable relations and situations. At least nine-tenths of the human race fall under this category. But men nevertheless need a system of metaphysics, i.e. an account of the world and our existence, because such is one of their most natural needs. Indeed they require a popular metaphysics and, to be capable of this, it must combine many rare qualities. Thus it must be easily intelligible and at the same time possess in the right places a certain obscurity and even impenetrability. Then a correct and adequate morality must be associated with its dogmas; above all, however, it must afford inexhaustible consolation in suffering and death. It follows from all this that it will not be possible for religion to be true sensu proprio, but only sensu allegorico. Further,



it must still have the support of an authority that is impressive on account of its great age, its universal acceptance, its records and documents together with their tone and enunciation. These are qualities that can be united only with such infinite difficulty that many a man would not be so ready and willing, if he considered the matter, to help to undermine a religion, but would bear in mind that it is the people's most sacred treasure. Whoever wishes to form an opinion on religion, should always keep an eye on the nature of the masses for whom it is intended and thus picture to himself the extent of their moral and intellectual depravity and inferiority. It is incredible how far this goes and how persistently a tiny spark of truth will continue to glow faintly even under the crudest covering of monstrous fables and grotesque ceremonies. It clings as ineradicably as does the odour of musk to everything that has once been in contact therewith. As an illustration of this, consider, on the one hand, the profound Indian wisdom that is recorded in the Upanishads, and then look at the strange and extravagant idolatry in the India of today, as seen in its pilgrimages, processions, and festivals, and at the mad and grotesque antics of the Sannyasis. Yet it is undeniable that, in all these ravings and strange gestures, there still lies deeply concealed something that accords with, or is a reflection of, that profound wisdom just mentioned. But it had to be dressed up in this form for the brutal masses. In this contrast, we have before us the two poles of mankind, the wisdom of individuals and the bestiality of the many, both of which, however, find their agreement in what is moral. Ah, who is not reminded here of the saying of the Kural: 'The common people look like human beings; but I have never seen anything like them.' (I. 1071) ? The more highly cultured man rna y still interpret religion for himself cum grano salis; 20 the scholar, the thinker may secretly exchange it for a philosophy. Yet even here, one philosophy will not suit everybody, but, by the laws of elective affinity, each will attract that public to whose culture and mental capacity it is suited. Thus there is at all times an inferior school-metaphysics for the educated multitude and a higher for the elite. For example, even Kant's lofty teaching had to be degraded and made worse for the schools by men like Fries, Krug, Salat, and others. In short, here if anywhere, Goethe's maxim :w ['With a grain of salt'.]


is true' one thing will not suit everyone.' Pure faith in revelation and pure metaphysics are for the two extremes; for the intermediate stages there are also mutual modifications of the two in innumerable combinations and gradations. This is rendered necessary by the immense difference placed by nature and education between one man and another. Religions fill and rule the world and the great masses of mankind obey them. At the same time, there slowly proceeds the silent succession of philosophers who are at work on the unravelling of the great mystery for the few who, by aptitude and education, are qualified to understand them. On an average, one is produced every century; as . soon as he has been genuinely discovered, he is always welcomed with exultation and listened to with attention. PHILALETHES: This point of view seriously reminds me of the mysteries of the ancients which you have already mentioned. The intention underlying these seems to be to remedy that evil which springs from the difference in intellectual capacity and education. Their plan here was to pick out from the masses, to whom the unveiled truth was absolutely inaccessible, a few to whom such truth might be disclosed up to a certain point; from these again others were selected to whom still more could be revealed because they were capable of understanding more, and so on up to the epopts. Thus there were p.tKpa, Kat p.d,ova, Kat p.i.yta-ra 21 The whole thing was based on a correct recognition of the intellectual inequality of men. DEMOPHELEs: To a certain extent, the education in our lower, middle, and high schools corresponds to the different degrees of initiation into the mysteries. PHILALETHES: Yes, but only very approximately, and even so only as long as Latin was used exclusively for writing about the subjects of higher knowledge. But since this has ceased to be the case, all the mysteries are profaned. DEMOPHELES: However that may be, I wanted to remind you as regards religion that you should look at it more from the practical side than from the theoretical. At all events, personified metaphysics may be the enemy of religion, yet personified morality will be its friend. Possibly the metaphysical element in all religions is false, but in all the moral element is true. This can u ['The small, greater, and greatest mysteries'.]



be surmised already from the fact that in the former they clash with one another, whereas in the latter they agree. PHILALETHES: Which furnishes an illustration of the logical rule that a true conclusion can follow from false premisses. DEMOPHELES: Now stick to the conclusion and always bear in mind that religion has two sides. If, when looked at merely from the theoretical and thus intellectual side, it could not be valid, nevertheless from the moral it shows itself to be the means of guiding, restraining, and appeasing that race of animals who are gifted with the faculty of reason and whose kinship with the ape does not rule out that with the tiger. As a rule, religion is at the same time a sufficient satisfaction for their dull metaphysical needs. You do not seem to me to have an adequate idea of the immense difference, the wide gulf, between your man who is learned, versed in the art of thinking, and enlightened, and the dull, clumsy, sluggish, and indolent consciousness of humanity's beasts of burden. Their thoughts have once for all taken the direction of concern and interest for their own livelihood and cannot be moved in any other direction. Their muscular strength is taxed so exclusively that the nervous force which constitutes intelligence sinks to a very low ebb. Such men must have something firm to hold on to on the slippery and thorny path of life, some beautiful fable whereby things are imparted to them which their crude understanding cannot possibly imbibe except in picture and parable. PHILALETHES: Do you believe that justice and virtue are lies and frauds and that we must, therefore, embellish them with a tissue of fables? DEMOPHELES: Far from it! But men must have something to which they attach their moral feelings and actions. Profound explanations and subtle distinctions are beyond them. Instead of expressing the truth of religions sensu allegorico, we might call it, like Kant's moral theology, hypotheses for a practical purpose, or introductory schemes, regulative principles, after the manner of the physical hypotheses of currents of electricity for explaining magnetism, or of atoms for explaining the proportions o_f chemical combinations,* and so on. We guard against • Even the poles, equator, and parallels in the firmament are of this nature; in the heavens there is nothing like these, for the heavens do not revolve.



establishing these as objectively true, yet we make use of them in order to establish a connection between phenomena; for, as regards the experiments and the results, they achieve approximately the same thing as does truth itself. They are the guiding stars for conduct and subjective con1posure during meditation. If you regard religion in this way and bear in mind that its aims are predominantly practical, and only to a limited extent theoretical, it will appear to you as worthy of the highest respect. PHILALETHES: Such respect would, of course, ultimately rest on the principle that the end justifies the means. Yet I do not feel inclined to make a compromise on this basis. At all events, religion may be an excellent means for taming and training that perverse, obtuse, and malicious race of bipeds; but in the eyes of the friend of truth, every fraud, even though it be pious, is objectionable. Lies and falsehood would appear to be a strange means of inculcating virtue. Truth is the flag to which I have taken my oath; I shall remain faithful to it everywhere and whether or not I succeed, I shall fight for light and truth. If I see religion in the ranks of the enemy, I shall-DEMOPHELES: But you do not find it there! Religion is no deception; it is true and the most important of all truths. But because, as I have said, its doctrines are of such a lofty nature that the masses could never grasp them directly; because, I say, its light would dazzle the ordinary eye, it appears wrapped in the veil of allegory and teaches what is not exactly true in itself but is, of course~ true as regards the lofty meaning contained in it. Understood in this way, religion is the truth. PHILALETHES: That would be all right if only religion were allowed to declare itself to be true merely allegorically. But it appears with the claim to be positively and absolutely true in the literal sense of the word. Herein lies the deception and it is here that the friend of truth must adopt a hostile attitude. DEMOPHELES: But this is indeed a conditio sine qua non. 22 If religion were to admit that only the allegorical meaning of its teachings were in it the element of truth, it would be deprived of all effectiveness and its inestimable and beneficial influence on the hearts and morals of mankind would be lost by such rigorous treatment. And so instead of insisting on this with pedantic n

['Absolutely necessary condition'.]



obstinacy, look at its great achievements in the practical sphere, in morality and kindly feeling as the guide to conduct and the support and consolation to suffering humanity in life and death. How much you will then guard against casting suspicion on something through theoretical fault-finding and thus finally wresting from the people something which for them is an inexhaustible source of consolation and relief and which they need so much in fact, with their harder lot, even more than we. For this reason it should be positively sacred and inviolable. PHILALETHES: With that argument we could have defeated and routed Luther when he attacked the sale of indulgences. For think of how many who obtained irreplaceable consolation and complete tranquillity through tickets of indulgence so that they cheerfully and confidently died, fully trusting in a whole pack of them which they firmly held in their hands, convinced as they were that here they had so many cards of admission to all the nine heavens. \Vhat is the use of grounds of consolation and tranquillity which are constantly overshadowed by the Damocles sword of disillusion? Truth, my friend, is the only sound thing; it alone remains steadfast and staunch; its consolation alone is solid; it is the indestructible diamond. DEMOPHELES: Yes, if you had truth in your pocket, ready to bless us with it on demand. But what you have are only metaphysical systems where nothing is certain except the headaches they cost. Before we take something away from a man, we must have something better to put in its place. PHILALETHES: If only I did not have to hear the same thing over and over again! To free a man from an error is not to take something away from him, but to give him something; for the knowledge that something is false is just a truth. But no error is harmless; on the contrary, sooner or later, every error will land in trouble the man who harbours it. Therefore do not deceive anyone, but rather confess that you do not know what no one knows and leave everyone to form for himself his own creeds. Perhaps they will not turn out so bad, especially as they will rub off one another's corners and rectify one another. In any case, a variety of many different views lay the foundation for tolerance. But those who are endowed with knowledge and ability may take up the study of philosophers, or even themselves carry the history of philosophy a stage further.



That, indeed, would be a fine business! A whole race of metaphysicians explaining things by the light of nature, quarrelling with one another, and eventually coming to blows! PHILALETHES: Good gracious, a few blows here and there are the spice oflife, or at any rate a very small evil when compared with such things as priestly domination, plundering of the laity, persecutions of heretics, courts of inquisition, crusades, religious wars, massacres of St. Bartholomew, and so on. These have been the results of privileged popular metaphysics, and so I stick to the fact that we cannot expect grapes from a bramble-bush, or salvation from frauds and lies. DEMOPHELES: How often am I to repeat that religion is anything but frauds and lies, but rather truth itself, only in the garment of myth and allegory? But as regards your plan that everyone should be his own religious founder, I still had to tell you that such a particularism was totally opposed to human nature and would, therefore, abolish all social order. Man is an animal metaphysicum; in other words, he has a predominantly strong metaphysical need. Accordingly, he sees life primarily in its metaphysical significance and wants to feel that everything is deduced therefrom. Therefore, strange as it may sound in view of the uncertainty of all dogmas, agreement in the fundamental views of metaphysics is for him the main point to the extent that a genuine and lasting community is possible only among those who in these matters are of the same opinion. As a result of this, nations are identified and differentiated much more by religions than by governments or even by languages. Accordingly, the fabric of society, the State, stands perfectly firm only when a universally acknowledged system of metaphysics serves as its foundation. Naturally, such a system can be only popular metaphysics, i.e. religion. It then becomes part and parcel of the constitution of the State, of all the communal expressions in the life of the people, and also of all the solemn acts in private life. This was the case in ancient India, among the Persians, Egyptians, and jews, and also the Greeks and Romans; it is still the case with the Brahmans, the Buddhists, and the Mohammedans. It is true that in China there are three faiths, of which the most widespread, Buddhism, is the least cultivated by the State. In China, however, there is a saying of universal application and daily use that 'the three doctrines are only one', in DEMOPHELES:



other words, that in the main point they agree. The Emperor also follows all three simultaneously and in union. Finally, Europe is the confederation of Christian states; Christianity is the basis of each ofits members and the common bond of all. Therefore, although Turkey is situated in Europe, she is not really reckoned as part thereof. Accordingly, the European princes are so 'by the grace of God', and the Pope is the vice-regent of God; and as his position and authority were the highest, he considered all thrones as held in fee only from him. In the same way, archbishops and bishops, as such, had temporal power, and even today have a seat and vote in the Upper House. Protestant rulers are, as such, the heads of their Churches; in England a few years ago, this was an eighteen-year-old girl. Through defection from the Pope, the Reformation upset the political structure of Europe, but in particular dissolved the real unity of Germany by abolishing the community of faith. And so after that unity had actually crumbled, it had later to be restored by artificial and purely political bonds. Thus you see how closely connected are faith and its unity with the social order of every state. Faith is everywhere the support of the laws and constitution and therefore the foundation of the social structure that could hardly continue to exist at all if religion did not lend weight to the authority of the government and to the dignity and reputation of the ruler. PHILALETHES: Oh yes, for princes the good Lord is the Santa Claus with whom they send big children to bed when all else is of no avail; and so they think a great deal of him. Very well; meanwhile I would like to advise every ruling prince seriously and attentively to read through the fifteenth chapter of the first book of Samuel twice a year on a definite day, so that he will al'\rays have in mind what it means to establish the throne on the altar. Moreover, since the ultima ratio theologorum, 2 3 the stake, has gone out of use, that means of government has lost much of its effectiveness. For, as you know, religions are like glow-worms in that they need darkness in order to shine. A certain degree of general ignorance is the condition of all religions, is the only element in which they can live. On the other hand, as soon as astronomy, natural science, geology, history, knowledge of :u

['The ultimate argument of theologians'.]


countries and peoples, spread their light everywhere and finally even philosophy is allowed to have a word, every faith founded on miracles and revelation is bound to disappear, whereupon philosophy takes its place. In Europe the day of knowledge and science dawned towards the end of the fifteenth century with the arrival of Romaic scholars; its sun rose ever higher in the very fruitful sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and dispersed the mist of the Middle Ages. To the same extent, Church and faith were bound gradually to collapse; and so in the eighteenth century English and French philosophers could stand up directly against them until finally, under Frederick the Great, Kant arrived. He deprived religious faith of the support of philosophy it had had hitherto, and emancipated this ancilla theologiae 2 4 in that, with German thoroughness and imperturbability, he attacked the matter, whereby it assumed a less frivolous air, yet one that was the more serious. As a result, we see Christianity in the nineteenth century greatly weakened almost completely without serious faith, and even fighting for its very existence; whereas an.xious princes try to help it by means of artificial stimulants as does a doctor a dying patient by means of musk. But listen to a passage from Condorcet's Esquisse d'un tableau des progres de !'esprit humain, which see1ns to be written as a warning to our times: Le zele religieux des philosophes et des grands n' itait qu' une diz,otion politique: et toute religion qu' on se permet de difendre comme une croyance qu'il est utile de laisser au peuple, ne peut plus esplrer qu'une agonie plus ou moins prolongee 2 s (5th epoch). In the whole course of the events I have described, you can always observe that faith and knowledge are related as are the two scales of a balance, so that when the one goes up the other goes down. In fact, the balance is so sensitive that it indicates even momentary influences. For example, at the b~ginning of the nineteenth century, the predatory incursions of French hordes under the leadership of Bonaparte and the great efforts that were subsequently necessary to expel and punish that gang of robbers, had brought about a temporary neglect of the sciences and thus ['Handmaid of theology'.] z5 ['The religious zeal of philosophers and great men was only a political devoutness; and every religion we venture to defend, as a faith which it is useful to let the people have, can no longer hope for anything but a more or less prolonged deathstruggle.'] z4



a certain decline in the general spreading of knowledge. \Vhen this happened, the Church at once began again to raise its head and faith immediately showed fresh signs of life which were, of course, in part only of a poetical nature, in keeping with the times. On the other hand, in the peace of more than thirty years that followed, leisure and prosperity encouraged to a rare degree the cultivation of the sciences and the spread of knowledge, the result of which, as I said, is the threatened decline and disintegration of religion. Perhaps even the time, so often prophesied, will soon cmne when in Europe mankind bids farewell to religion, like a child who has outgrown his nurse and whose further instruction now devolves on a private tutor. For there is no doubt that religious doctrines based merely on authority, miracles, and revelation, are an expedient that is appropriate only to the childhood of mankind. But everyone will admit that a race whose entire duration does not amount to more than about a hundred times the life of a man of sixty, according to the consistent statement of all the data of physics and history, is still in its first childhood. DEMOPHELES: Oh if, instead of taking an undisguised pleasure at prophesying the downfall of Christianity, you would consider how infinitely grateful humanity in Europe should be to this religion which, after a long interval, followed it from its true and ancient home in the East. Through Christianity Europe acquired a tendency which had hitherto been foreign to her, by virtue of a knowledge of the fundamental truth that life cannot be an end in itself, but that the true purpose of our existence lies beyond it. Thus the Greeks and Romans had placed this purpose positively in life itself and so in this sense can certainly be called blind heathens. Accordingly, all their virtues are reducible to what is serviceable to the common welfare, to what is useful. Aristotle says quite naively: ' Those virtues must necessarily be the greatest which are the most useful to others.' (avayK'Y) S€ p.eylaTCXS dvcxt apETfx) TCXS' TOtS" aAAOLS' XfYTJCJLJ-LWTlXTCXS". Rhetoric, lib. I, c. g.) Thus with the ancients a love of one's country was the highest virtue, although it is really very doubtful, since narrowmindedness, prejudice, vanity, and an understandable selfinterest have a large share in it. Just before the above-mentioned passage, Aristotle enumerates all the virtues in order to explain them individually. They are justice, courage, moderation,



magnificence (p.EyaAo11p€7TEta), magnanimity, liberality, gentleness, reasonableness, and wisdom. How different from the Christian virtues! Even Plato, incomparably the most transcendent philosopher of pre-Christian antiquity, knows of no higher virtue than justice and he alone recommends it absolutely and for its own sake; whereas with all the other philosophers, the aim of all virtue is a happy life, vita beata, and morality the way to attain this. Christianity in Europe rescued humanity from this crude and shallow identification of itself with an ephemeral, uncertain, and hollow existence, coelumque tueri ]ussit, et erectos ad sidera tollere vultus. 2 6

Accordingly, Christianity preached not merely justice, but loving kindness, sympathy, compassion, benevolence, forgiveness, love of one's enemy, patience, humility, renunciation, faith, and hope. In fact it went further; it taught that the world is evil and that we need salvation. Accordingly, it preached a contempt for the world, self-denial, chastity, giving up of one's own will, that is, turning away from life and its delusive pleasures. Indeed, it taught one to recognize the sanctifying force of suffering; an instrument of torture is the symbol of Christianity. I am quite ready to admit that this serious and only correct view of life was spread in other forms all over Asia thousands of years earlier, just as it is even now independently of Christianity; but for humanity in Europe it was a new and great revelation. For it is well known that the population of Europe consists of Asiatic races who as wanderers were driven from their homes and gradually settled in Europe. In their distant wanderings, they lost the original religion of their homeland and thus the correct view of .\ife; and so in a new climate they then formed their own somewhat crude religions, principally the druidic, odinic, and Greek religions whose metaphysical content was insignificant and very shallow. :N1eanwhile, there developed among the Greeks a quite special, one might say instinctive, sense of beauty which was peculiar to them alone of all the nations that have ever existed on earth; a sense that was fine and correct. Thus in the mouths of their poets and the hands of 16

['And caused it to look to heaven and to raise its eyes to the stars. (Ovid, Meti11MTplwses, I. 85-6.)]



their sculptors, their mythology assumed an exceedingly beautiful and delightful form. On the other hand, the serious, true, and deep significance of life was lost to the Greeks and Romans; they went on living like big children until Christianity came and recalled them to the serious side of life. PHILALETHES: And to judge the result, we need only compare antiquity with the Middle Ages that followed it, say the age of Pericles with the fourteenth century. We can hardly believe that in the two instances we have before us beings of the same species. In the one case, we have the finest development of humanity, admirable state institutions, wise laws, shrewdly allotted offices, rationally regulated freedom, all the arts at their best including poetry and philosophy, the creation of works which, even after thousands of years, stand as matchless examples, almost as works of a higher order of beings whom we can never approach, and, with all this, a life embellished by the noblest fellowship as portrayed in Xenophon's Banquet. Now look at the other case, if you can. You see a time when the Church had shackled the minds, and force and violence the bodies, of men so that knights and priests could lay the entire burden oflife on the third estate, their common beast of burden. There you find the right of might, feudalism and fanaticism in close alliance, and in their train shocking ignorance and mental obscurity, a corresponding intolerance, dissension in matters of faith, religious wars, crusades, persecution of heretics, and inquisitions. As the form of fellowship, however, you see chivalry, a hotchpotch of roughness, coarseness, silliness, apishness with its humbug and foolery, pedantically cultivated and worked up into a system, namely its degrading superstition and apish veneration of women. Gallantry, a survival of this veneration, is paid for by wellmerited feminine arrogance and provides all Asiatics with lasting material for laughter, in which the Greeks would have joined. In the golden Middle Ages, of course, the whole thing was carried to a formal and methodical service of women; it imposed deeds of heroism, cours d' amour,Z7 bombastic troubadour songs, and so on, although it should be observed that these last [By this phrase Schopenhauer may have meant 'love-making'. However, he may have had in mind a meaning mentioned in Robert, Dictwnnaire alphahitique a analogique de la langue ftan;aise: a proven~l society dealing with and judging on questions of courtly love.] 17



farces, having an intellectual side, were chiefly at home in France, whereas with the dull and worldly Germans the knights distinguished themselves more by drinking and stealing. Goblets and castles were the business of these robber-barons, although at the courts there was no lack of insipid love-songs. How had the scene changed in this way? Through migration and Christianity. DEMOPHELES: I am glad you reminded me of this. 1\.1igration was the source of the evil, and Christianity the dam on which it broke. Christianity first became the means of taming and controlling the crude and savage hordes that swarmed in through the flood of migration. The raw human being must first kneel and learn veneration and obedience; only thereafter can he be civilized. This was done in Ireland by St. Patrick and in Germany by Winfried the Saxon who became a true Boniface. It was migration, this last advance of Asiatic tribes into Europe, followed only by the fruitless attempts of those under Attila, Genghis Khan, and Timur, and, as a comic epilogue, by the gipsies, it was migration that had swept away the humanity of antiquity. But Christianity was the very principle that worked against roughness and coarseness; just as even later, throughout the Middle Ages, the Church with its hierarchy was highly necessary for setting a limit to the coarseness and barbarism of those endowed with physical force, namely the princes and knights. It became the ice-breaker of these mighty floes. Yet the aim generally of Christianity is not so much to make this life pleasant as to render us worthy of a better. It looks away over this span of time, over this fleeting dream, in order to lead us to eternal salvation. Its tendency is ethical in the highest sense of the word, a sense till then unknown in Europe, as I have shown by comparing the morality and religion of the ancients with those of the Christians. PHILALETHES: And for a good reason, so far as theory is concerned; but look at practice! In comparison with the Christian centuries that followed, the ancients were unquestionably less cruel than the Middle Ages v.rith their exquisite tortures and numberless burnings at the stake. Moreover, the ancients were very tolerant, had a particularly high regard for justice, frequently sacrificed themselves for their country, showed every kind of magnanimity and generosity, and such a genuine



humanity that even to this day an acquaintance with their thoughts and actions is called the study of the humanities. The • fruits of Christianity were religious wars, religious massacres, crusades, inquisitions, together with other courts for heretics, extermination of the original natives of America, and the introduction of African slaves in their place. Among the ancients nothing analogous to, or in any way like, them is to be found; for the slaves of the ancients, the familia, the vernae,zs were a contented race, faithfully devoted to their master, and as different from the unfortunate Negro slaves of the sugar plantations, who are an indictment against mankind, as are their two colours. The tolerance of pederasty which was certainly reprehensible and with which we mainly reproach the morals of the ancients, is a trifle when compared with the Christian atrocities I have just named. Even among the moderns, this vice has not become anything like so rare as would appear on the surface. All things considered, can you maintain that mankind has actually become morally better through Christianity? DEMOPHELES: If the result has not been everywhere in keeping with the purity and truth of the teaching, this may be due to the fact that such has been too noble and sublime for mankind and consequently the aim was too high. Naturally it was easier to comply with heathen and also with Mohammedan morality. But then it is precisely what is sublimest that is everywhere most open to fraud and abuse: abusus optimi pessimus. 2 9 And so even those lofty teachings have at times served as a pretext for the most infamous deeds and really atrocious crimes. The decline of the old state institutions as also of the arts and sciences of the Old World, is, as I have said, attributable to the invasion of foreign barbarians. Accordingly, it was inevitable that ignorance and coarseness would gain the upper hand and that, as a result, violence and fraud would seize power so that knights and priests became a burden to mankind. It is, however, explained partly from the fact that the new religion taught one to seek eternal instead of temporal salvation, preferred simplicity of heart to knowledge, and was not in favour of any worldly pleasures, even those that are contributed to by the arts and ~['Dependants'; V)

'slaves born in the house'.] ['The worst is the abuse of the best.')



sciences. Yet in so far as the latter were of service to religion, they were encouraged and to a certain extent flourished. PHILALETHEs: In a very narrow sphere. But the sciences were untrustworthy companions and as such were kept in check. On the other hand, dearly beloved ignorance, that element so necessary to religious doctrines, was carefully cultivated. DEMOPHELES: And yet what mankind had till then acquired in the way of knowledge and had recorded in the writings of the ancients, was rescued from destruction by the clergy alone, especially in the monasteries. What would have happened if Christianity had not appeared shortly before the migration of peoples? PHILALETHES: It would really be an exceedingly useful inquiry to attempt to balance accurately, impartially, frankly, and dispassionately the advantages and disadvantages accruing from religions. for this, of course, a much greater mass of historical and psychological data is necessary than is available to either of us. Academies might make it the subject of a prize-essay. DEMOPHELES: They will take good care not to do that. PHILALETHES: I am surprised that you say that, for it is a bad sign for religions. Besides, there are also academies whose questions carry the implied condition that the prize goes to the man who best knows how to voice their views. If only a statistician could in the first place tell us how many crimes are prevented annually by religious motives, and how many by others; of the former there would be very few. For if a man feels tempted to commit a crime, it is certain that the first thing to enter his head is the punishment fixed for it and the probability of his being caught. The second point he considers is the risk to his reputation. If I am not mistaken, he will ruminate for hours on those two obstacles before any religious considerations ever occur to him. But if he gets over those first two hurdles, I think that religion alone will very rareJy deter him from the crime. DEMOPHELEs: But I think that it will do so very often, especially if its influence already works through the medium of custom, so that a man at once recoils from grave misdeeds. The early impression sticks. For instance, think of the number, especially those of noble birth, who often make heavy sacrifices to fulfil a given promise, determined solely by the fact that, in their childhood, their fathers often seriously impressed on them that 'a



man of honour, or a gentleman, or a cavalier, keeps his word always and inviolably.' PHILALETHEs: Without a certain innate probitas, 30 this too has no effect. Speaking generally, you should not attribute to religion what results from innate goodness of character by virtue whereof one man's sympathy for another, who would be affected by the crime, prevents him from committing it. This is the genuine moral motive and as such is independent of all religions. DEMOPHELES: But even this seldom has any effect with the masses unless it is clothed in religious motives, whereby it is undoubtedly strengthened. Yet even without such a natural foundation, religious motives by themselves alone often prevent crime. This too need not surprise us in the case of the crowd when we see that even those of superior education are sometimes under the influence not so much of religious motives which are based, at any rate allegorically, on truth, as of the absurdest superstition and allow themselves to be guided by it throughout their lives; for instance, not undertaking anything on a Friday, not sitting down thirteen at table, obeying chance omens, and so on. If this is the case with educated men, how much more is it so with the masses? You simply cannot form an adequate conception of the extreme limitation of uncultured minds in which things look very dark especially when, as occurs only too often, a bad, unjust, and malicious heart forms the foundation. Such men who constitute the great mass of the human race, must somehow be guided and controlled for the time being, even if only by actually superstitious motives, until they become susceptible to those that are better and more correct. The direct effect of religion is testified, for example, by the fact that very often, especially in Italy, a thief arranges for stolen property to be restored through his father confessor, for the priest makes this the condition of absolution. Again, think of the oath where religion shows the most definite influence. Now it may be that a man expressly takes up the position of a merely rrwral being and sees himself solemnly appealed to as such; the oath seems to be taken in this way in l',rance where the formula is merely je le jure, and also with the Quakers whose solemn yes or no is accepted instead of the oath. Or it may be JO

['Probity, integrity'.]



that a man actually believes in the forfeiture of his eternal happiness which he expresses in this case, a belief that is then only a way of clothing the former feeling. At all events, religious conceptions are a means of rousing and drawing out his moral nature. How often it happens that false oaths are taken in the first instance, but, when it comes to the point, are suddenly rejected whereby truth and right then gain the day. PHILALETHES: And even more often have false oaths actually been taken, whereby truth and right were trampled under foot with the clear knowledge of all the witnesses to the act. The oath is the metaphysical asses' bridge of the lawyers which they should cross as rarely as possible. But if this is unavoidable, it should be done with the greatest solemnity, never without the presence of a priest and in fact in a church or chapel adjoining the court of law. In extremely doubtful or suspicious cases, it is expedient to allow even school-children to be present. For this reason, the French abstract form of oath is of no use at all. Abstraction from what is positively given should be left to everyone's own train of thought according to the degree of his culture and education. However, you are right when you mention the oath as an undeniable example of the practical efficacy of religion. Yet in spite of all you have said, I cannot help doubting whether such efficacy goes much beyond this. Just imagine if all the criminal laws were suddenly declared by public proclamation to be abolished; I do not think that either you or I would have the courage to go home alone, even only from here, under the protection of religious motives. On the other hand, if, in the same manner, all religions were declared to be untrue, we should go on living as before under the protection of the laws alone without any special increase in our fears and our precautionary measures. But I will also tell you that religions very often have a decidedly demoralizing influence. In general, it could be said that what is added to the duties to God is withdrawn from those to humanity; for it is very easy and convenient to make amends for a want of good behaviour towards humanity by adulation for God. Accordingly, we see in all ages and countries that the majority find it much easier to obtain heaven by begging and praying than to merit it by doing good deeds. In every religion it soon comes about that the primary objects of the divine will are declared to be not so much moral actions as faith, temple



ceremonies and the many different kinds of divine worship; indeed these are gradually regarded even as substitutes for moral actions, especially when they are associated with the emoluments of the priests. Animal sacrifices in the temple, having masses read, erecting chapels or roadside shrines, soon become the most meritorious works so that through them even serious crimes are expiated, as also through penance, subjection to priestly authority, confessions, pilgrimages, donations to temples and their priests, the building of monasteries, and so on. In the end, the priests thus seem to be almost the middlemen in the business with venal gods. And even if matters do not go quite so far, where is the religion whose followers do not regard at least prayers, hymns of praise, and the many different devotional exercises as at any rate a partial substitute for moral conduct? Look at England, for example, where the Christian Sunday, established by Constantine the Great in opposition to the Jewish Sabbath, is nevertheless mendaciously identified therewith by impudent priestcraft even as regards the name. This is done so that Jehovah's commands for the Sabbath, that is, the day on which the worn-out Almighty had to rest from his six days' labour (and so it is essentially the last day of the week), may be applied to the Sunday of the Christians, the dies solis, this first day that gloriously opens the week, this day of devotion and joy. In consequence of this fraud, 'Sabbath-breaking' or 'the desecration of the Sabbath', that is to say, the slightest occupation, whether for business or pleasure, all games, music, sewing, darning, and all secular works, are in England reckoned as grave sins. Surely the ordinary man must believe that, if only, as his spiritual guides impress on him, he follows 'a strict o~servance of the holy Sabbath and a regular attendance on divine service', in other words, if only on Sundays he idles away his time inviolably and thoroughly and does not fail to sit in church for two hours to hear the same litany for the thousandth time and to rattle it off a tempo-that if only he does all this, he can reckon on some indulgence with regard to one thing or another which he occasionally permits himself to do. Those devils in human form, the slave-owners and slave traders in the Free States of North America (they should be called the Slave States), are, as a rule, orthodox and pious Anglicans who would regard it as a grave sin to work on Sundays and who, confident


of this and of their regular attendance at church, hope for eternal happiness. The demoralizing influence of religions is, therefore, less problematical than is the moralizing. On the other hand, how great and certain would that moralizing influence have to be, to make amends for the cruelties to which religions, especially the Christian and Mohammedan, have given rise and for the misery they have brought on the world! Think of the fanaticism, the endless persecutions, then the religious wars, that bloody madness of which the ancients had no conception. Think of the crusades which were a quite inexcusable butchery and lasted for two hundred years, their battle cry being: 'It is the will of God.' Their object was to capture the grave of him who preached love, tolerance, and indulgence. Think of the cruel expulsion and extermination of the Moors and Jews from Spain; of the blood baths, inquisitions, and other courts for heretics; and also of the bloody and terrible conquests of the Mohammedans in three continents. Then think of the Christians in America whose inhabitants were for the 1nost part, and in Cuba, entirely extenninated. According to Las Casas, twelve million people were murdered in forty years, all in majorem Dei gloriam Jt of course and for the purpose of spreading the Gospel because what was not Christian was not even regarded as human. It is true that I have previously touched on these things, but when even in our day the Neueste Nachrichten aus dem Reiche Gottes arc printed, 32 we will not weary of recalling these older items of news. In particular, let us not forget India, that sacred soil, that cradle of the human race, or at any rate that part thereof to which we belong, where first Mohammedans and then Christians furiously and most cruelly attacked the followers of mankind's sacred and original faith. The ever-deplorable, wanton, and ruthless destruction and disfigurement of ancient temples and images reveal to us even to this day traces of the monotheistic fury of the Mohammedans which was pursued from Mahmud of Ghazni of accursed memory down to Aurangzeb the fratricide. These were afterwards most faithfully imitated by the Portuguese Christians through the destruction of temples as well as by the autos-da-fi ['For the greater glory of God'.) 3Z A periodical reporting on the achievements of the missionaries. Its fortieth annual number appeared in 1856. 31



of the Inquisition at Goa. Also we should not forget God's chosen people who, after they had stolen by Jehovah's express command the gold and silver vessels lent to them by their old and trusty friends in Egypt, now made their murderous and predatory attack on the 'Promised Land', with the murderer Moses at their head,* in order to tear it away from the rightful owners, by the same Jehovah's express and constantly repeated command, showing no mercy and ruthlessly murdering and exterminating all the inhabitants, even the women and children (Joshua, chaps. I o and I 1). And all this simply because they were not circumcised and did not know Jehovah. This was sufficient ground for justifying every atrocity and cruelty to them; just as for the same reason in earlier times, the infamous blackguardism of the patriarch Jacob and his chosen people towards Hamor, King of Shalem, and his people is gloriously narrated for us (Genesis 34), just because the people were unbelievers. t This is really the worst side of religions, namely that *Tacitus (Hisroriae, lib. v, c. 2) andjustinus (lib. XXXVI, c. 2) have handed down to us the historical basis of the Exodus, the reading of which is as instructive as it is entertaining and from which we may infer how matters are with regard to the historical basis of the other books of the Old Testament. In the passage quoted, we see that Pharoah would no longer tolerate in Egypt proper the jewish people, a sneaking dirty race afflicted with filthy diseases (scabies) that threatened to prove infectious. He therefore had them put on board ship and dumped on the Arabian coast. It is true that a detachment of Egyptians was sent after them, not to bring back the precious fellows who had been deported, but to recover from them what they had stolen; thus they had stolm from the temples the golden vessels. Who would lend anything to such a rabble? It is also true that the above-mentioned detachment was annihilated by a natural event. On the coast of Arabia there was great scarcity, principally of water. Then a bold and venturesome fellow appeared, and offered to procure everything if they would follow and obey him. He said he had seen wild asses, and so on. I regard this as the historical basis, since it is obviously the prose on which the poetry of the Exodus was built. Although Justinus (i.e. Trogus Pompeius) here commits a monstrous anachronism (that is, according to our assumptions that are based on the Exodus), this does not disturb me, for to me a hundred anachronisms are still not so questionable as a single miracle. We see also from the two Roman authors how much the Jews were at all times and by all nations loathed and despised. This may be due partly to the fact that they were the only people on earth who did not credit man with any existence beyond this life and were, therefore, regarded as cattle, as the dregs of humanity, but as past masters at telling lies. t Whoever wants to know, without understanding Hebrew, what the OJd Testament is, must read it in the Septuagint which is the most accurate, most genuine, and at the same time finest of all translations; for it has an entirely different tone and colour. The style of the LXX is for the most part noble and naive; nor has it anything ecclesiastical and there is no trace of anything Christian. Compared with it, the Lutheran translation appears to be both vulgar and bigoted; it is often


the believers of every religion regard themselves as justified in committing every crime against those or all the others and have, therefore, treated them with the greatest wickedness and cruelty; thus the Mohammedans against the Christians and Hindus, the Christians against the Hindus, ~1ohammedans, American natives, Negroes, Jews, heretics, and others. Perhaps I go too far when I say all religions, for in the interest of truth I must add that the fanatical cruelties arising from this principle are really known to us only frmn the followers of the monotheistic religions, thus Judaism and its two branches, Christianity and Islam. We hear nothing of the kind about Hindus and Buddhists. Although we know that in about the fifth century of our era Buddhism was driven by the Brahmans from its original home in the Indian peninsula and then spread over the whole of Asia, yet we have no definite infonnation, as far as I know, of any crimes of violence, wars, and atrocities whereby this was carried out. This may, of course, be attributable to the obscurity in which the history of those countries is veiled; yet the extremely mild character of those religions which constantly inculcate forbearance to all living things and also the circumstance that, on account of its caste system, Brahmanism does not really allow proselytes, entitle us to hope that their followers refrained from shedding blood on a large scale and from every kind of cruelty. Spence Hardy in his admirable book, Eastern Monachism, p. 412, praises the extraordinary tolerance of the Buddhists and adds the assurance that the annals of Buddhism afford fewer instances of religious persecution than do those of any other religion. Indeed, intolerance is essential only to monotheism; an only God is by nature a jealous God who will not allow another to live. On the other hand, polytheistic gods are inaccurate, sometimes intentionally, and maintains throughout a canonical and devotional tone. In the above-mentioned passages, Luther has ventured to make qualifications that could be called falsifications; thus where he puts 'verbannen' (exile), the Greek word is it/>Ov£1JC1av [murdered, killed], and so on. Moreover, the impression left on me after studying the LXX is ..Evs Napovxw8o,·oaop [the great King Nebuchadnezzar], although he was somewhat too lenient with a people whose God gave or promised them their neighbours' lands. They then obtained possession of these by murder and rapine, and there erected a temple to God. May every people, whose God makes neighbouring countries 'lands of promise', find their Nebuchadnezzar in good time and their Antiochus Epiphanes as well, and may they be treated without any more ceremony!



naturally tolerant; they live and let live. In the first place, they gladly tolerate their colleagues, the gods of the same religion, and this tolerance is afterwards extended even to foreign gods who are, accordingly, hospitably received and later admitted, in son1e cases, even to an equality of rights. An instance of this is seen in the Romans who willingly admitted and respected Phrygian, Egyptian, and other foreign gods. Thus it is only the monotheistic religions that furnish us with the spectacle of religious wars, religious persecutions, courts for trying heretics, and also with that of iconoclasm, the destruction of the images of foreign gods, the denwlition of Indian temples and Egyptian colossi that had looked at the sun for three thousand years; all this just because their jealous God had said: 'Thou shalt make no graven image', and so on. But to return to the main point, you are certainly right in insisting on man's strong metaphysical need. Religions, however, seem to me to be not so much a satisfaction· as an abuse thereof. At any rate, we have seen that, as regards the cncourage1nent of morality, their use is to a great extent problematical, whereas their disadvantages, and especially the atrocities that have followed in their train, are as clear as the light of day. Of course, it is quite a different matter if we take into consideration the use of religions as supports to thrones; for in so far as these are granted by the grace of God, throne and altar are intimately associated. Accordingly, every wise prince who loves his throne and family, will always appear at the head of his people as a paragon of true religious feeling, just as even l\1achiavelli in the eighteenth chapter of his work urgently recommends princes to cultivate religious feeling. Moreover, it might be mentioned that revealed religions are related to philosophy precisely as are sovereigns by the grace of God to the sovereignty of the people, so that the two first terms of this comparison stand in natural alliance. DEMOPHELES: Ah, do not adopt that tone, but rcmcn1ber that you would thus be playing the tune of ochlocracy and anarchy, the arch-enemy of all law and order, of all civilization and humanity. PHILALETHES: You are right; they were just sophisms, or what the fencing masters call irregular cuts; and so I retract what I said. But see how arguments can sometimes make even an honest man unjust and malicious. Therefore let us stop.


I cannot help regretting that, after all my efforts, I have not changed your attitude with regard to religions. On the other hand, I can also assure you that all you have stated has not in the least shaken my conviction of the great value and necessity of religions. PHILALETHES: I believe you, for as it says in Hudibras:


He that complies against his will, Is of his own opinion still.

But I console myself with the thought that in controversies and mineral baths the after-effect is the only real one. DEMOPHELES: Well, I wish you a blessed after-effect. PHILALETHES: Perhaps it might be, if only I could swallow a Spanish proverb. DEMOPHELES: What does that say? PHILALETHES: Detras de la cruz estti el Diablo. DEMOPHE!.ES: What is that in plain language, you old Spaniard? PHI LA LETHES: • Behind the cross stands the devil.' DEMOPHELES: Come, we do not want to part from each other with sarcasms. Let us rather see that religion, like Janus, or better still like Tama the Brahman god of death, has two faces and, like him, one very friendly and one very stern. Each of us has kept his eye only on one of them. PHILALETHES: You are quite right, old chap!

§ I 75 Faith and Knowledge As a branch of knowledge, philosophy is not in the least concerned with what should or may be believed, but merely with what can be known. Now if this should be something quite different from what we have to believe, then this would be no disadvantage even to faith; for it is faith because it teaches what we cannot know. If we could know it, then faith would appear as something useless and ridiculous, rather like advancing a doctrine of faith in connection with mathematics. On the other hand, it might be urged that faith can still teach more, much more, than can philosophy, yet nothing that is inconsistent with the results thereof, since knowledge is of sterner stuff than faith, so that if the two come into collision, the latter breaks.


In any case, the two are fundamentally different and, for their mutual advantage, must remain strictly separate so that each may go its own way without taking any notice of the other.

§ 176 Revelation The ephemeral generations of human beings arise and pass away in quick succession, whilst the individuals, beset with anxiety, want, and pain, dance into the arms of death. They never weary of asking what is the matter with them and what is the meaning of the whole tragi-comic farce. They cry to heaven for an answer, but it remains silent. On the other hand, priests and parsons come along with their revelations. Of the many hard and deplorable things in the fate of man, not the least is that we exist without knowing whence, whither, and to what purpose. Whoever has grasped and seen through the sense of this evil and is thoroughly imbued with it, will hardly be able to resist a feeling of irritation towards those who pretend to have special information about this matter, which they wish to convey to us under the name of revelations. I would like to advise these revelation-gentlemen not to talk so much at the present time about revelation, otherwise one of these days it might easily be revealed to them what revelation really is. But whoever can seriously think that beings who were not human had ever given information concerning the existence and purpose of our race and the world, is still only a big child. There is no revelation other than the thoughts of sages, although these are subject to error, as is the lot of everything human. These are often clothed in strange allegories and myths that are then called religions. To this extent, therefore, it is immaterial whether a man lives and dies relying on his own ideas or on those of others; for they are always only human ideas and opinions in which he puts his trust. As a rule, however, men are weak and prefer to trust others who allege supernatural sources rather than rely on their own minds. Now if we keep in view the exceedingly great intellectual difference between one man and another, then to some extent the thoughts of one might well be regarded by another as revelations. On the other hand, the fundamental secret and cunning of all


priests, at all times and throughout the world, whether they be Brahmans or Mohammedans, Buddhists or Christians, are that they have rightly recognized and understood the great strength and ineradicability of man's metaphysical need. They now pretend to possess the means to satisfy this by saying that the word of the great riddle has in some extraordinary way reached them direct. Once men have been talked into this idea, the priests can guide and control them at will. And so the more prudent rulers enter into an alJiance with them; the others are themselves ruled by them. But if, as the rarest of all exceptions, a philosopher ascends the throne, there arises the most embarrassing disturbance in the whole comedy.

§ I 77 On Christianity To judge this religion fairly, we must also consider what existed before it and was set aside by it. First there was GraecoRoman paganism. Considered as popular metaphysics, it was an extremely insignificant phenomenon without any real, definite dogmatic system or any decidedly expressed ethics, in fact without any true moral tendency and sacred writings, so that it hardly merited the name of religion, but was rather a mere play of the imagination, a product of the poets from popular fairy-tales, and for the most part an obvious personification of the powers of nature. We can hardly believe that grown men ever took this childish religion seriously, yet evidence of their so doing is furnished by many passages from the ancients, especially by the first book of Valerius :rviaximus, but also by very many from Herodotus. Of these I will mention only those in the last book, chapter 65, where he expresses his own opinion and talks like an old woman. As time went on and philosophy progressed, this seriousness had naturally disappeared and thus it was possible for Christianity to supplant that State religion, in spite of its external supports. Yet even in the best Greek period, this State religion was certainly not taken as seriously as was the Christian in more modern times, or as are Buddhism, Brahmanism, or even Islam in Asia. Consequently, the polytheism of the ancients was something quite different from the mere plural of monotheism. This is evident from the Frogs of Aristophanes, where Dionysus appears as the most pitiable poltroon


and coxcomb imaginable and is made an object of ridicule; and this play was publicly performed at his own festival, the Dionysia. The second thing that Christianity had to supplant was Judaism whose crude dogma was sublimated and tacitly allegorized by the Christian. Christianity generally is of an entirely allegorical nature; for that which in things profane is called allegory is in religions styled 'mystery'. It must be admitted that Christianity is far superior to those two earlier religions not only in morals, but even in dogmatics. In morals the teachings of caritas, gentleness, love of one's enemy, resignation, and denial of one's own will, are exclusively its own, in the West of course. What better thing can be offered to the masses who, of course, are incapable of directly grasping the truth, than a fine allegory which is perfectly adequate as a guide for practical life and as an anchor of hope and consolation? A small admixture of absurdity, however, is a necessary ingredient for such an allegory, in that it helps to indicate its allegorical nature. If the Christian dogmas are understood sensu proprio, then Voltaire is right; if, on the other hand, they are taken allegorically, they are a sacred myth, a vehicle for conveying to the people truths that would otherwise be quite beyond their reach. \Ve might compare them to the arabesques of Raphael as well as to those of Runge, which represent the palpably unnatural and impossible, but from which a deep meaning is nevertheless expressed. Even the assertion of the Church that, in the dogmas of religion, the faculty of reason is wholly incompetent, blind, and unsound, means at bottom that these dogmas are of an allegorical nature; and so they are not to be judged by the standard that only the faculty of reason, taking everything sensu proprio, can apply. The absurdities in dogma are just the distinctive mark and sign of the allegorical and mythical; although, as in the present instance, they spring from the fact that two such heterogeneous doctrines as those of the Old and New Testaments had to be tied together. That great allegory came about only gradually on the occasion of external and chance circumstances. It was expounded under the quiet influence of a deep-lying truth whereof 1nen were not clearly conscious, until it was perfected by Augustine. He penetrated its meaning most deeply and was then able to grasp it as a systematic whole and to make good what was missing. Accordingly, only the


Augustinian doctrine, confirmed also by Luther, is perfect Christianity, not the primitive Christianity, as present-day Protestants imagine who take 'revelation' sensu proprio and, therefore, restrict it to one individual; just as it is not the seed but the fruit that is good to eat. However, the bad point of all religions is always that they dare not be openly and avowedly allegorical, but only covertly so; accordingly, they have to state their teachings in all seriousness as being true sensu proprio. Now with the essentially necessary absurdities in them, this introduces a constant deception and is a great drawback. What is even worse is that in time there comes a day when they are no longer true sensu proprio, and then they are overthrown. To this extent, it would be better for them to admit forthwith their allegorical nature; but how is one to bring home to the people that something can be simultaneously true and not true? Now as we find that all religions are more or less of such a nature, we have to acknowledge that the absurd is to a certain degree suited to the human race, is in fact an element of life, and that deception and mystification are indispensable to man, as is also confirmed by other phenomena. An example and proof of the above-mentioned source of the absurd, springing from the combination of the Old and New Testaments, are afforded, among other things, by the Christian doctrine of predestination and grace, as elaborated by Augustine, that guiding star of Luther. In consequence of that doctrine, one man has an advantage over another in respect of grace, which then amounts to a privilege received at birth and brought ready-made into the world, and this indeed in the most important of all matters. But the offensive and absurd nature of this teaching springs merely from the Old Testament assumption that man is the work of another's will and is thereby created out of nothing. On the other hand, with regard to the fact that genuine moral qualities are actually inborn, the matter assumes quite a different and more rational significance under the Brahmanic and Buddhist assumption of metempsychosis. According to this, the advantage one man has at birth over another and thus what he brings with him from another world and a previous life, is not another's gift of grace, but the fruit of his own deeds that were performed in that other world. Connected with that dogma of Augustine's is yet another, that out


of the mass of the human race, which is corrupt and depraved and is, therefore, destined to eternal damnation, only very few indeed, and these in consequence of election by grace and of predestination, are deemed righteous and therefore blessed; the rest, however, go to well-merited perdition, to the eternal torments ofhell.H Taken sensu proprio, the dogma here is revolting; for not only does it cause a young man scarcely twenty years old to suffer endless torture, by virtue of its punishments of eternal hell, for his lapses or even his unbelief, but there is also the fact that this almost universal damnation is really the effect of original sin and thus the necessary consequence of the Fall. But in any case, this must have been foreseen by him who in the first instance had not created human beings better than they are and had then laid a trap for them into which he must have known they would fall, since all things without exception are his work and from him nothing remains hidden. Accordingly, out of nothing he had summoned into existence a feeble race subject to sin in order then to hand it over to endless torture. Finally, there is also the fact that the God who prescribes forbearance and forgiveness of every trespass and offence, even to the extent ofloving one's enemy, himself practises none of these, but rather does the very opposite. For a punishment that occurs at the end of things, when all is over and done with for all time, cannot aim either at improvement or determent and is, therefore, revenge pure and simple. But considered from this point of view, the whole race even appears to be expressly created and positively destined for eternal torment and damnation, with the exception of the few who, through election by grace, are saved, no one knows why. But apart from these, it looks as if the Almighty had created the world so that the devil should get it, in which case he would have done far better to leave things alone. So much for dogmas when they are taken sensu proprio; whereas understood sensu allegorico, all this is yet capable of an adequate explanation. In the first place, as I have said, the absurd and even revolting aspect of this teaching is merely a consequence of Jewish theism with its creation out of nothing and its really paradoxical and shocking denial, connected therewith, of the doctrine of metempsychosis, a doctrine that is JJ

See Wiggers's Augustinismus rmd Pelagianismus, p. 335·


natural, is to a certain extent self-evident, and so is accepted at all times by almost the entire human race with the exception of the Jews. Just to remove the colossal drawback arising from this and to tone down the revolting aspect of the dogma, Pope Gregory I in the sixth century very wisely formed the doctrine of purgatory, which is in essence already found in Origen (cf. Bayle in the article Origene, Note B), and formally incorporated it in the articles of the Church. In this way, the thing was greatly moderated and to some extent took the place of metempsychosis; for the one like the other furnishes a process of purification. With the same object, there was introduced also the doctrine of the restitution or restoration of all things (&.7ToKaraarcuns1Tctvrwv) whereby in the final act of the world-comedy even the sinners, all and sundry, are restored in integrum.J4 It is only the Protestants with their stern belief in the Bible who will not be dissuaded from their eternal punishments in hell. 'Much good may it do them!' might be said by anyone in a spiteful mood. The only consolation is that they just do not believe in it, but let the matter rest for the time being, thinking in their hearts that things will not be quite so bad as that. In consequence of his rigid systematic mind, through his strict dogmatizing of Christianity and his fixed definition of doctrines that in the Bible are only hinted at and always float on an obscure foundation, Augustine gave them such hard contours and Christianity so harsh a construction that at the present time these views cause offence and are, therefore, now opposed by rationalism in .our day as they were by Pelagianism in his. For example, De civitate dei, lib. xu, c. 2 I, the argument taken in abstracto runs really as follows: A God creates a being out of nothing, gives him inhibitory commands, and, because these are not obeyed, tortures him throughout eternity with every imaginable agony and affliction, for which purpose he then inseparably binds body and soul (De civitate dei, lib. XIn, c. 2; c. 11 in .fine and 24 in .fine), in order that the torture may never through disintegration destroy this being and thus let him escape. On the contrary, he must live for ever to endure eternal torment, this poor fellow who was created out of nothing, and at any rate has a claim to his original nothing, which last retreat that J4

['To their original state of perfection'.]


in any event cannot be very bad should remain assured to him by rights as his inherited property. At any rate, I cannot help sympathizing with hin1. Now if in addition we take the rest of Augustine's doctrines, namely that all this does not really depend on what a man does or omits to do, but was previously settled by election through grace, then we do not know what more is to be said. Naturally our highly educated rationalists then say: 'But all this is not true and is a mere bugbear; on the contrary, we shall always make progress and rise stage by stage to ever greater perfection.' It is a pity that we did not begin earlier, for then we should already be there. But our bewilderment at such statements is still further increased when we listen meanwhile to the voice of Vanini, a wicked heretic who was burnt at the stake: Si nollet Deus pessimas ac nifarias in orbe vigere actiones, procul dubio uno nutu extra mundi limites omnia jlagitia exterminaret projligaretque: quis enim nostrum divina.e potest resistere voluntati? quomodo invito Deo patrantur scelera, si in actu quoque peccandi scelestis vires subministrat? Ad haec, si contra Dei voluntatem homo labitur, Deus erit inferior homin.e, qui ei adversatur, et pra.evalet. Hinc deducunt, Deus ita desiderat hunc mundum qualis est, si meliorem vellet, meliorem haberet.Js (Amphitheatrum mundi, exercit. 16, p. 104) He had previously said on page I 03: Si Deus vult peccata, igitur facti: si non vult, tam.en committuntur; erit ergo dicendus improvidus, vel impotens, vel crudelis, cum voti sui compos fieri aut n.esciat, aut nequeat, aut negligat.J 6 At the same time, it is clear why, even at the present day, the dogma of free will is clung to mordicus,J7 although all serious and honest thinkers from Hobbes to me have rejected it as absurd, as is seen in my essay 'On the Freedom of the \Viii' which was avv·arded a prize. It was ['If God did not want the worst and meanest actions to haunt the world, he would undoubtedly with a wave of the hand drive away and banish all deeds of infamy from the limits of the world; for who of us can resist the divine will? How can we assume that crimes would be committed against the will of God if, when a sin is committed, he endows criminals with the strength to commit it? If, however, man commits an offence without God's willing it, then God is weaker than man who opposes him and has the power to do so. From this it follows that God wants to have the world as it is, for if he wanted a better world, he would have a better.' J6 ['If God wills sins, it is he who commits them; if he d()('_s not will them, they are nevertheless committed. Consequently, it must be said of him that he is either improvident, or impotent, or cruel. For he neither knows how, nor is able, nor cares, to carry out his decree.'] J7 ['Frantically', 'with might and main'.) JS


certainly easier to burn than to refute Vanini. The former was preferred after his tongue had been previously cut out; the latter is still open to anyone who may care to make the attempt, yet it must be done seriously with thoughts and ideas, not with hollow verbiage. Augustine's conception of the exceedingly large number of sinners and of the extremely small number of those meriting eternal bliss is in itself correct. It is again found in Brahmanism and Buddhism where, however, in consequence of metempsychosis, it causes no offence. For in Brahmanism only very few indeed attainfinal emancipation, in Buddhism Nirvana (both are equivalent to our eternal bliss). Yet these few are not privileged, but have already come into the world with the accumulated merit of former lives, and now continue along the same path. All the rest, however, are not hurled into the eternally burning lake of fire and brimstone, but are moved only into worlds that are appropriate to their conduct. Accordingly, anyone who asked the teachers of these religions where and what all those others now are who have not attained salvation, would receive the following answer: 'Look about you and you will see them here; this is their scene of action, this is Samsara, that is, the world of craving, birth, pain, old age, sickness and death.' If, on the other hand, we understand merely sensu allegorico the Augustinian dogma in question, namely that of the very small number of the elect and the very large one of the eternally damned, in order to interpret it in the sense of our philosophy, then it agrees with the truth that certainly only a few reach the denial of the will and thus emancipation from this world (just as only a few Buddhists attain Nirvana). On the other hand, what the dogma hypostasizes as eternal damnation, is just this world of ours; this is the place to wruch all those others are relegated. It is bad enough; it is purgatory; it is hell and in it there is no lack of devils. Just consider what men sometimes inflict on men, with what excruciating agonies one will slowly torture another to death, and then ask yourselves whether devils could do more. Those who are not converted and persist in the affirmation of the will-to-live, will likewise stay in the world for ever. But really, if an Asiatic were to ask me what Europe is, I should have to reply that it is that part of the world which is completely ruled by the unheard-of and incredible notion that


the birth of a human being is his absolute beginning and that he has come from nothing. Fundamentally and apart from the mythologies of the two religions, Buddha's Samsara and Nirvana are identical with Augustine's two civitates into which the world is divided, namely the civitas terrena and the civitas coelestis, as described by him in the books De civitate dei, especially lib. XIV, c. 4 et ultim.; lib. xv, C. I and 2I; Jib. XVIII injine; lib. XXI, C. I. In Christianity the devil is an extremely necessary person as a counterpoise to Almighty God who is ail-good and all-wise; for with such a God it is impossible to see how the predominant, countless, and measureless evils of the world could come about unless there were a devil to be responsible for them. Therefore since the rationalists have abolished him, the resultant drawback on the other side has made itself 1nore and more felt, as was to be foreseen and was foreseen by the orthodox. For we cannot take away a pillar without endangering the rest of the structure. This also confirms what is ascertained in other ways, namely that jehovah is another term for Ormuzd and Satan for Ahriman who is inseparable from him; but the name Ormuzd is itself another term for Indra. Christianity has the peculiar disadvantage of not being, like other religions, a pure doctrine, but is essentially and mainly a narrative or history, a series of events, a complex of the facts, actions, and sufferings of individuals; and this very history constitutes the dogma, belief in which leads to salvation. Other religions, Buddhism in particular, have, of course, a historical supplement in the lives of their founders; this, however, is not part of the dogma itself, but merely accompanies it. For example, we can compare the Lalitavistara with the Gospel in so far as it contains the life of Sakya Muni, the Buddha of the present world-period. But this remains something quite separate and distinct from the dogma and so from Buddhism itself, just because the lives of previous Buddhas were also quite different and those of future Buddhas will again be quite different. Here the dogma has not by any means grown up with the life of the founder and is not based on individual persons and facts, but is universal and applies equally to all times. Therefore the Lalitavistara is not a gospel in the Christian sense, no glad tidings of a fact of salvation, but the life of him who gave instructions as



to how everyone could redeem himself. It is the historical nature of Christianity that makes the Chinese scoff at the missionaries as so many story-tellers. Another fundamental defect of Christianity to be mentioned in this connection and not to be explained away which daily manifests its deplorable consequences, is that it has most unnaturally separated man from the animal world, to which in essence he nevertheless belongs. It now tries to accept man entirely by himself and regards animals positively as things; whereas Brahmanism and Buddhism, faithful to truth, definitely recognize the evident kinship of man with the whole of nature in general and the animals in particular and represent him, by metempsychosis and otherwise, as being closely connected with the animal world. The important part played generally by animals in Brahmanism and Buddhism, compared with their total nullity in Jewish Christianity, pronounces sentence on the latter in respect of perfection, much as we in Europe may be accustomed to such an absurdity. To palliate that fundamental defect, but actually aggravating it, we find a trick which is as despicable as it is shameless and has already been censured in my Two Fundamental Problems of Ethics, 'Basis of Ethics', § 19 ( 7). I refer to the trick of describing in terms quite different from those used in the case of man all the natural functions which animals have in common with us and which, more than anything else, testify to the identity between their nature and ours, such as eating, drinking, pregnancy, birth, death, dead body, and so on. It is positively a vile and mean trick. Now the fundamental defect just mentioned is a consequence of creation out of nothing, according to which the Creator (Genesis I and g) hands over to man all the animals, just as if they were mere things and without any recommendation to their being properly treated, such as even the seller of a dog often adds when parting with the animal he has reared. The Creator hands them over so that man may rule over them and thus may do what he likes with them; whereupon in the second chapter he appoints man as the first professor of zoology by commissioning him to give animals the names they are to bear in future. Again this is merely a symbol of their entire dependence on him, that is, of their being without any rights. Holy Ganga! mother of our race! Such stories have on me the same effect as do Jew's pitch and foetor Judaicus! The



fault lies with the Jewish view that regards the animal as something manufactured for man's use. But unfortunately the consequences of this are felt even to this day because they have passed over into Christianity. For this very reason, we should give up crediting this religion with the most perfect morality. It really has a serious and fundamental imperfection in that it restricts its precepts to man and leaves the whole of the animal world without any rights. And so in protecting them from the rough and callous masses who are frequently more bestial than the beasts, the police have to take the place of religion; and since this is not enough, societies for the protection of animals arc today being formed all over Europe and America. On the other hand, such would be the most superfluous thing in the world in the whole of uncircumcised Asia, where religion affords sufficient protection to animals and even makes them the subject of positive beneficence. For example, the fruits of this are seen in the large hospital for animals in Surat to which even Christians, Mohammedans, and Jews can send their sick animals. After a successful cure, however, such people are very rightly not allowed to take them away again. In the same way, whenever a Brahman or Buddhist has a piece of personal good fortune, he does not proceed to rattle off a Te Deum, but goes to the market-place to buy birds in order to open their cages at the city-gates. There are frequent opportunities for observing this in Astrakhan where the followers of all religions meet; and they do a hundred similar things. On the other hand, look at the revolting and outrageous wickedness with which our Christian mob treat animals, laughing as they kill them without aim or object, maiming and torturing them, and even working the very marrow out of the poor bones of their old horses who are their direct bread-winners, until they sink and succumb under the lashes. It might truly be said that men are the devils of this earth and animals the tortured souls. These are the consequences of that installation scene in the Garden of Paradise. For the mob can be got at only by force or religion; but here Christianity leaves us shamefully in the lurch. I heard from a reliable source that, when asked by a society for the protection of animals to preach a sermon against cruelty to them, a Protestant clergyman replied that, with the best will in the world, he could not do so because in this matter religion gave him no support. The



man was honest and right. In a circular dated 27 November 1852, the very laudable Munich society for the protection of animals endeavours, with the best intentions, to quote from the Bible 'precepts preaching consideration for animals', and mentions Proverbs 1 2 : I o; Ecclesiasticus 7: 24; Psalms I 4 7: 9; 104: 14; Job 38:41; Matthew ro:2g. But this is only a pious fraud that reckons on our not turning up the passages; only the first well-known passage says something relevant, although it is weak. The others, it is true, speak of animals, but not of consideration for them. What does the first passage say? 'A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast.' 'Regardeth the life'! \..Yhat an expression! One is merciful to a sinner or an evil-doer, but not to an innocent faithful animal who is often his master's bread-winner and gets nothing but his bare fodder. Merciful indeed! We owe to the animal not mercy but justice, and the debt often remains unpaid in Europe, the continent that is so permeated with the foetor Judaicus that the obvious and simple truth 'the animal is essentially the same as man' is an offensive paradox.* The protection of animals is, therefore, left to the police and to societies formed for the purpose, but these can do very little against that widespread ruffianism of the mob, where it is a question of poor things who cannot complain and in a hundred cases of cruelty hardly one comes to light, especially as the punishments are too lenient. Flogging was recently suggested in England and this seems to me to be a thoroughly suitable punishment. Yet what can we expect from the 1nasses when there are scholars and even zoologists who, instead of acknowledging the identity (intimately known to them) of the essential natures of man and animal, are bigoted and narrowminded enough to carry on a heated controversy with honest and reasonable colleagues who put man in the proper animal class or demonstrate the great similarity between him and the chimpanzee and orang-utan? But it is really revolting when in his Scenen aus dem Geisterreich, vol. ii, Sc. I, p. 15, the pious J ungStilling with his exceedingly Christian turn of mind adduces the • In their exhortations the societies for the protection of animals are for ever using the bad argument that cruelty to animals leads to cruelty to human beings, as though man were a direct object of moral duty, the animal being merely indirect, in itself a mere thing.' For shame! (Sec The Two Fundammtal Problems of Ethics, 'Basis of Ethics',§§ 8 and 19 (7).)



following comparison: 'Suddenly the skeleton shrivelled up into the indescribably hideous form of a dwarf, just as does a large garden spider when we bring it into the focus of a burningglass and its pus-like blood now hisses and boils in the glowing heat.' And so this man of God perpetrated such an infamous deed or calmly watched it, which in this case amounts to the same thing; in fact he sees so little wrong in it that he tells us about it quite casually and calmly! These are the effects of the first chapter of Genesis and generally of the whole Jewish way of looking at nature. With the Hindus and Buddhists, on the other hand, the Malzavakya (the great word) 'tat tvam asi' (this art thou) applies and is always to be expressed over every animal in order that we may have before us, as a guide to our conduct, the identity of his inner nature and ours. Go away from me with your most perfect of all moral systems! When I was a student at Gottingen, Blumenbach in his lectures on physiology spoke very seriously to us about the horrors of vivisection and pointed out to us what a cruel and shocking thing it was. He therefore said that it should very rarely be resorted to and only in the case of very important investigations that are of direct use. But it must then be done with the greatest publicity in the large lecture-hall after an invitation has been sent to all the medical students, so that the cruel sacrifice on the altar of science may be of the greatest possible use. Every quack, however, now considers himself entitled to carry out in his torture-chamber the cruellest tortures on animals in order to decide problems whose solution has long since appeared in books, but which he is too lazy and ignorant to look up. Our doctors no longer receive, as they did formerly, a classical education which endowed them with a certain humanity and a touch of nobility. Nowadays, they go off as soon as possible to the university, where they want to learn to be medicine-men, and then have a good time in the world. Here the French biologists appear to have set the example and the Germans vie with them in inflicting on innocent animals, often in large numbers, the cruellest tortures in order to settle purely theoretical and often very futile questions. I will now illustrate this with a few examples which have particularly disgusted me, although they are by no means isolated cases; on the contrary, a hundred similar instances could be enumerated.



In his book tlber die Ursachen der Knochenformen ( 185 7), Professor Ludwig J:."'ick of Marburg reports that he removed the eye-balls of young animals to obtain a confirmation for his hypothesis through the fact that the bones now grow into the cavities! (See Central Blatt of 24 October 1857.) Deserving of special mention is the atrocity, perpetrated in Nuremberg by Baron von Bibra and reported by him tanquam re bene gesta 38 to the public with inconceivable naivete in his Vergleichende Untersuchungen iiber das Gehirn des Menschen und der Wirbelthiere (Mannheim, 1854, pp. 131 ff.). He deliberately arranged for the death by starvation of two rabbits in order to carry out a useless and superfluous research as to whether the chemical constituents of the brain underwent a change in their proportions through death by starvation! For the benefit of science, n' est-ce-pas? Does it never occur to these gentlemen of the scalpel and crucible that they are human beings first and chemists afterwards? How can we sleep in peace while harmless animals from the mother's breast are kept under lock and key to suffer a slow and agonizing death by starvation? Do we not have a nightmare in ot;tr sleep? And is this not happening in Bavaria where, under the auspices of Prince Adalbert, the admirable and highly eminent councillor Perner is setting the whole of Germany a brilliant example in his defence of animals against cruelty and brutality? Is there no society in Nuremberg affiliated with the highly beneficial one that is active in Munich? If Bibra's cruel act could not be prevented, was it left unpunished? At any rate, anyone who has still as much to learn from books as has that von Bibra, should remember that to extort the final answers on the path of cruelty* is to put nature on the rack in order to enrich his knowledge, to extort her • For instance, he carries out detailed investigations on the ratio of the weight of the brain to that of the rest of the body; whereas since Sommering with clear insight discovered it, it is generally known and not in dispute that we have to estimate the weight of the brain not in relation to that of the whole body but to that of the rest of the nervous system. (Cf. Blumcnbach, Institutiones physiologicae, edit. quart., 1821, p. 173. First learn something and then join in the discussion. This is meant incidentally for all those fellows who write books that prove nothing but their ignorance.) Obviously this requires preliminary knowledge which we should have before we undertake experimental investigations on the brains of human beings and animals. But, of course, it is easier to torture poor animals slowly to death than to learn something. l8

['As though he had made out a very good case'.]



secrets which have probably long been known. For such knowledge there are still many other innocent sources without his having to torture to death poor helpless animals. What in all the world has the poor harmless rabbit done that it should be seized and sacrificed to the torture of a slow death by starvation? No one is justified in practising vivisection who does not already know and understand all that is to be found in books on the question under investigation. It is obviously high time that in Europe Jewish views on nature were brought to an end, at any rate as regards animals, and that the eternal essence, lilJing in all animals as well as in us, be recognized as such and treated with consideration and respect. Bear this in mind and remember that it is seriously meant and that not one word will be withdrawn, even if you were to cover with synagogues the whole of Europe! A 1nan must be bereft of all his senses or con1pletely chloroformed by the foetor Judaicu.s, not to see that, in all essential respects, the animal is absolutely identical with us and that the difference lies merely in the accident, the intellect, not in the substance which is the will. The world is not a piece of machinery and animals are not articles manufactured for our use. Such views should be left to synagogues and philosophical lecture-rooms which in essence are not so very different. On the other hand, the above knowledge furnishes us with the rule for the correct treatment of animals. I advise the zealots and parsons not to say much against it here, for this time on our side we have not only truth, but also morality.* The greatest benefit of railways is that millions of draughthorses are spared a miserable existence. It is unfortunately true that the human being who has been driven northwards and whose skin has thus become white requires animal food, although there are vegetarians in England. But the death of the animals we eat should be rendered quite painless by the administration of chloroform and of a swift blow on the lethal spot. We should do this not out of 'the righteous man's regard for the life of his beast' as the Old Testament expresses it, but from our bounden duty to the eternal essence • They send missionaries to the Brahmans and Buddhists to inspire them with the 'true faith'; but when these men hear how animals are treated in Europe,they have the deepest loathing for Europeans and their religious doctrines.


that lives in all animals as it lives in us. All animals to be slaughtered should be chloroformed beforehand; this would be a noble course to follow and an honour to mankind. Here the higher scientific knowledge of the West would go hand in hand with the higher morality of the East, since Brahmanism and Buddhism do not limit their precepts to 'one's neighbour', but take under their protection 'all living beings'. In spite of all Jewish mythology and the intimidation of priests, the immediate and certain truth that is self-evident to everyone whose mind is not crazy and fuddled through foetor Judaicus, must ultin1ately gain acceptance and can no longer be suppressed, even in Europe. I refer to the truth that animals are in all essential respects identical with us and that the difference lies merely in the degree of intelligence, i.e. cerebral activity, the latter also admitting of great differences between the various species of animals. In this way, we shall see a more humane treatment of animals. For only when that simple and undoubtedly sublime truth has reached the masses will animals cease to appear as creatures without rights, and thus be exposed to the malicious whim and cruelty of every coarse ruffian; and only then will it not be open to any medical quack to put to the test every odd and eccentric caprice of his ignorance by the most horrible tortures on numberless animals, as happens at the present time. It must be acknowledged, of course, that animals are now in most cases chloroformed and are thus spared pain during the operation, after which they can be dispatched by a quick death. This method, however, is necessarily excluded in the case of operations which are performed on the activity of the nervous sytem and its sensitiveness and which are now so frequent, for the very thing to be observed would thus be stopped. Alas the animal most frequently taken for vivisection is morally the noblest of all, the dog, who is, moreover, rendered more susceptible to pain by his highly developed nervous system.* • A word on cruelty to the chained-up dog, man's only true companion and most faithful friend, the most splendid conquest he ever made, as Fr. Cuvier says. This highly intelligent creature with fine feelings is, like a criminal, tied up on a chain where from morning till night he experiences the constantly renewed and never satisfied longing for freedom and movement and his life is a slow torment I Through such cruelty he ultimately ceases to be a dog and is changed into a loveless, savage, faithless animal, a cringing creature trembling at the sight of the devil man. I would sooner have the dog stolen from me than always be confronted with such


377 The unconscionable treatment of animals must be stopped in Europe. The jewish view of the animal world must, on account of its immorality, be expelled from Europe. What i~ more obvious than that we and the animals are to all intents and purposes absolutely the same? To fail to recognize this, a man must be bereft of all his senses, or rather he will not see, since to him a gratuity is more acceptable than truth.

§ 178 On Theism Just as polytheism is the personification of the individual parts and forces of nature, so is monotheism that of the whole of nature, at one stroke. When I try to imagine that I am standing before an individual being to whom I say: 'My Creator, at one time I was nothing, but you have brought me forth so that I am now something and indeed I am I'; and I add: 'I thank you for this benefit'; and finally say: 'If I have been worthless and good-for-nothing, it is my fault' -then I must confess that, in consequence of philosophical and Indian studies, my mind has become incapable of sustaining such an idea. Moreover, this is the counterpart to what Kant presents to us in the Critique of Pure Reason (in the section 'Of the Impossibility of a Cosmological Proof'): 'We cannot suppress or support the idea that a being whom we picture as the highest among all possible beings, should say to himself:" I am from eternity to eternity, there is nothing beside me except that which is something merely through my will; hut whence am I?''' Incidentally, this last question, just like the whole of the above-mentioned section, has not prevented professors of philosophy since Kant's time from making the Absolute, or in plain language, that which has no cause, the constant and main theme of all their philosophizing. This is for them a really good idea. Speaking generally, these men are incurable and I cannot too often advise the reader to waste no time on their writings and lectures. It is all the same whether we make an idol out of wood, stone, or metal, or make it up from abstract concepts. It remains suffering whereof I was the cause. (See my remarks on Lord - and his chained-up dog,§ 153.) All caged birds are also a scandalous and stupid cruelty. It should be fOrbidden and here too the police should take the place of humanity.


idolatry, the moment we have before us a personal being to whom we make sacrifices and whom we invoke and thank. At bottom it is not so different whether we sacrifice our sheep or our inclinations. Every form of worship or prayer is incontestable evidence of idolatory'. And so the mystical sects from all religions agree in abolishing for their adepts all forms of worship.

§I 79 The Old and New Testaments Judaism has as its fundamental characteristics realism and optimism which are closely related and are the conditions of theism proper. For this regards the material world as absolutely real and life as a pleasant gift bestowed on us. Brahmanism and Buddhism, on the other hand, have as their fundamental characteristics idealism and pessimism, for they assign to the world only a dreamlike existence and regard life as the consequence of our guilt. In the doctrine of the Zendavesta whence, as we know, Judaism has sprung, the pessimistic element is represented by Ahriman. But in Judaism he has only a subordinate position as Satan who is nevertheless, like Ahriman, the author and originator of snakes, scorpions, and vermin. Judaism at once makes use of him to correct its fundamental error of optimism, namely for the Fall, which now introduces into that religion the pessimistic element that is required in the interests of the most obvious and palpable truth and is its most correct fundamental idea; although it transfers into the course of existence what must be represented as underlying and preceding it. A striking confirmation that Jehovah is Ormuzd is furnished by the first book of Ezra in the Septuagint, thus d it:pEv5; A (6:24), omitted by Luther: 'Cyrus the king had a house of the Lord built at Jerusalem, where sacrifices are made to him through the perpetual fire.' Also the second book of the Maccabees, chapters I and 2 and I 3: 8, shows that the religion of the Jews was that of the Persians, for it is narrated that the Jews who were led away into Babylonian captivity had, under the guidance of Nehemiah, previously concealed the consecrated fire in a dried-out cistern, where it went under water and was later rekindled through a miracle, to the great edification of the Persian king. Like the Jews, the Persians also abhorred the worship of images and, therefore, never presented the gods in



that form. (Spiegel, Ober die Zendreligion, also tells us of the close relationship between the Zend religion and Judaism, but thinks that the former comes from the latter.) Just as Jehovah is a transformation of Ormuzd, so is Satan the corresponding transformation of Ahriman, that is, the adversary or opponent, namely ofOrmuzd. (Luther has' opponent' where the Septuagint has 'Satan', e.g. I Kings I I : 23.) It appears that the service of Jehovah originated under Josiah with the assistance of Hilkiah, in other words, it was acquired from the Parsecs and completed by Ezra on the return from the Babylonian exile. For up till the time of Josiah and Hilkiah and also under Solmnon, there obviously prevailed in J udaea natural religion, Sabianism, the worship of Belus, of Astarte, and others. (See the books of the Kings on Josiah and Hilkiah.) * Incidentally, as confirmation of the origin of Judaism from the Zend religion, it may be mentioned that, according to the Old Testament and other Jewish authorities, the cherubim are creatures with the head of a bull on which jehovah is mounted. (Psalms 99: 1. In the Septuagint, 2 Kings 6: 2 and 22 : I 1 ; bk. 4, 19: 15: o Ka8"'JJ.L€Vo) €1rl. Twv XEpoupEI.p...) 39 Such animals, half-bull, half-man, also half-lion, are very similar to the description of Ezekiel (chapters 1 and ro), and are found on_pieces of sculpture in Persepolis, but especially among the Assyrian statues found in Mosul and Nimrod. Even in Vienna, there is a carved stone representing Ormuzd riding such a bull-cherub. • Could the otherwise inexplicable favour, which was shown (according to Ezra) by Cyrus and Darius to the Jews whose temple they allowed to be restored, be due possibly to the fact that the Jews, who in Babylon had hitherto worshipped Baal, Astarte, Moloch, and others, adopted Zoroastrianism after the victory of the Persians and now served Ormuzd under the name ofJehovah? In support of this is the fact that Cyrus prays to the God of Israel, which would otherwise be absurd (1 Ezra 2:3 in the Septuagint). All the preceding books of the Old Testament are composed later and thus after the Babylonian captivity, or at any rate the Jehovah doctrine is inserted at a later date. Moreover, from 1 Ezra 8 and g, we become acquainted with the most infamous side ofJudaism. Here the conduct of the chosen people is in keeping with the revolting and iniquitous example of Abraham their ancestor. Just as he expelled Hagar with Ishmael, so were the women, whom the Jews had married during the Babylonian captivity, turned adrift with their children, because they were not of l\1oses' stock. Anything more infamous can hardly be imagined, unless perhaps that villainy of Abraham is invented to cover up the greater infamy of the whole race. ['(Lord God of Israel) which dwellest between the cherubims .' (2 Kings rg: 15).] 39



Particulars of this are to be found in the Wiener Jahrbiicher der Litteratur, September 1833, Records of Travels in Persia. Moreover, the detailed explanation of that origin has been furnished by J. G. Rhode in his book, Die heilige Sage des Zendvolks. All this sheds light on the genealogical tree of Jehovah. The New Testament, on the other hand, must somehow be of Indian origin, as is testified by its thoroughly Indian ethics which carries morality to the point of asceticism, by its pessimism and its avatar. It is precisely through these that it is definitely and diametrically opposed to the Old Testament, so that there was only the story of the Fall to provide a link which could connect the two. For when that Indian teaching found its way into the Promised Land, there arose the problem of uniting Jewish monotheism and its 1ravra KaAa Alav"0 with the knowledge of the corruption and desolation of the world, of its need for deliverance and redemption through an avatar, together with a morality of self-denial and repentance. And a solution to the problem was as far as possible successful, namely to the extent that two such different and even antagonistic doctrines could be united. As ivy needs support and something to hold on to, it twines round a rough-hewn post, everywhere adapting itself to the irregular shape and reproducing this, yet clothing the post with life and grace, so that we are presented with a pleasant sight instead of the bare post. In the same way, Christ's teaching that has sprung from Indian wisdom has covered the old and quite different trunk of crude judaism and what had to be retained of the original form is changed by that teaching into something quite different, true and alive. It appears to be the same, but is something really different. Thus the Creator, who creates out of nothing and is separate from the world, is identified with the Saviour and through him with mankind. He stands as their representative, for in him they are redeemed, just as they had fallen in Adam and had since been entangled in the bonds of sin, corruption, suffering, and death. For here, as well as in Buddhism, the world manifests itself as all this, no longer in the light of Jewish optimism ['(And God saw) every thing (that he had made, and, behold, it) was very good.' (Genesis 1 :31.)) 40



that had found 'all things very good' (1r&v-ra KaAd 'Alav). On the contrary, the devil himself is now called the 'prince of this world'' 0 apxwv TOU KO(jf.LOV TOlJTOV (John I 2: 3 I)' ruler of the world. The world is no longer an end, but a means; the kingdom of eternal joys lies beyond it and beyond death. Renunciation in this world and the direction of our hopes to a better are the spirit of Christianity. But the way to such a world is opened by reconciliation i.e. by salvation from our world and its ways. In morality the command to love one's enemy takes the place of the right to retaliate, the promise of eternal life replaces the promise of innumerable progeny, and instead of a visitation of the sins of the father on the children unto the third and fourth generations, we have the Holy Spirit that overshadows and shelters all. Thus we see the doctrines of the Old Testament rectified and given a fresh interpretation by those of the New, whereby an essential and fundamental agreement with the ancient religions of India is brought about. Everything that is true in Christianity is found also in Brahmanism and Buddhism. But in these two religions we shall search in vain for the Jewish view of a being who has sprung from nothing and is endowed with life, of a thing 'produced in time which cannot be humble enough in its thanks and praises to Jehovah for an ephemeral existence full of misery, worry, and want. For in the New Testament the spirit of Indian wisdom can be scented like the fragrance of a bloom which has been wafted over hills and streams from distant tropical fields. On the other hand, from the Old Testament there is nothing corresponding to this except the Fall which had to be added at once as a corrective to optimistic theism and to which the New Testament was attached. For the Fall is the only point which offers itself to the New Testament and on to which it can hold. Now just as for a thorough knowledge of a species that of its genus is required, the latter itself, however, being again known only in its species, so for a thorough understanding of Christianity, a knowledge is required of the other two world-denying religions, Brahmanism and Buddhism; moreover, as sound and accurate a knowledge as possible. For just as in the first place Sanskrit gives us a really thorough understanding of Greek and Latin, so do Brahmanism and Buddhism enable us to understand Christianity.


I even cherish the hope that biblical scholars familiar with Indian religions will one day come forward and be able to demonstrate through very special features the relationship of these to Christianity. Meanwhile, I draw attention merely tentatively to the following. In the Epistle of James Qames 3: 6), is the expression 'the course of nature', o Tpoxos Tfjs y~v€a~ws (literally 'the wheel of generation and birth') which has always been a crux interpretum:u But in Buddhism the wheel of metempsychosis is a very familiar conception. In Abel Remusat's translation of the Foe Kue Ki, it says on p. 28: la roue

est l' embleme de la transmigration des ames, qui est comme un cercle sans commencement ni fin; p. 1 79 : la roue est un embleme familier aux Bouddhistes, il exprime le passage successif de l' arne dans le cercle des divers modes d' existence. On page 282 the Buddha himself says: qui ne connazt pas la raison, tombera par le tour de la roue dans la vie et la mort.4 2 In Burnouf's Introduction a l'histoire du Bouddhisme, vol. i, p. 434, we find the significant passage: Il reconnut ce que c' est que la roue de La transmigration qui porte cinq marques, qui est a la fois mobile et immobile; et ayant triomphe de toutes les voies par lesqeulles on entre dans le monde, en les ditruisant, etc. 43 In Spence Hardy's Eastern Monachism (London, 1850), we read on page 6: 'Like the revolutions of a wheel, there is a regular succession of death and birth, the moral cause of which is the cleaving to existing objects, whilst the instrumental cause is karma (action).' See also pages I 93 and 223, 224, of the same work. Also in Prabodha Chandrodaya (Act IV, Sc. 3) it says: 'Ignorance is the source of Passion who turns the wheel of this mortal existence.' In the description of Buddhism by Buchanan according to the Burmese texts (in the Asiatic Researches, vol. vi, p. 181 ), it says of the constant arising and passing away of successive worlds that' the successive destructions and reproductions of the world resemble a great wheel, in which we can point out neither beginning nor end.' ['A difficulty for commentators'.] n ['The wheel is the emblem of the transmigration of souls which is like a circle without beginning and end ... The wheel is an emblem familiar to Buddhists; it expresses the soul's successive passage in the circle of different forms of existence ... He who is unacquainted with the truth will lapse through the turning of the wheel into life and death.'] 43 ['He recognized what is the wheel of transmigration which has five marks and is at the same time mobile and immobile; and after he had triumphed over all the paths by which one enters the world in that he destroyed them ..•. '] 4I


(The same passage, only longer, appears in Sangermano's Description of the Burmese Empire, Rome, I 833, p. 7.) * According to Graul's glossary, Hansa is a synonym for Sannyasi. Possibly the name Johannes (from which we get Hans) might be connected with it (and with his sannyasi-life in the wilderness). A wholly external and accidental resemblance of Buddhism to Christianity is that it no longer prevails in the land of its origin; and so both are bound to say: 1rpocf>~r7Js €v rfj wl~ 7Tct.rpl8t rtp.~v ovK ;XEL (vales in propria patria honore caret). 44 If, to explain that agreement with Indian doctrines, we wished to indulge in conjectures of all kinds, we could assume that the gospel note on the flight to Egypt was based on something historical; that Jesus was educated by Egyptian priests whose religion was of Indian origin and from whom he had accepted Indian ethics and the notion of an avatar; and that he subsequently had endeavoured to adapt these to the Jewish dogmas in his own native land and to graft them on to the ancient stem. It might be supposed that a feeling of his own moral and intellectual superiority had finally induced him to regard himself as an avatar and accordingly to call himself the Son of Man in order to indicate that he was more than a mere human being. It is even conceivable that, with the intensity and purity of his will and in virtue of the omnipotence generally associated with the will as thing-in-itself and known to us from animal magnetism and the magic effects connected therewith, he had been able to perform miracles so called, in other words, to act by means of the metaphysical influence of the will. In this case, the instruction given by the Egyptian priests would have stood him in good stead. Legend would then have amplified and exaggerated these miracles. For a miracle proper would be everywhere a dimenti -ts that nature gave herself. t • Manu, xn. 124. Sancara, p. 103. Obry, Nirvana; pp. 30 and 31 he says: 'La transmigraJum porte en Sanscrit le nom vague de Samsara, cercle ou mouvemmt circulaire der naissances.' ['Transrrilgration has in Sanskrit the vague name of Samsara, circle or circular movement of births.'] . t For the masses miracles are the only arguments they understand; and so all founders of religions perform them. Scriptures contain miracles for the purpose of authenticating their contents; but ['A prophet hath no honour in his own country.' (John 4:44.)] •s ['Denial', 'contradiction'.] 44


Meanwhile, only on such assumptions can we to some extent explain how Paul, whose chief epistles must indeed be genuine, can in all seriousness represent as God incarnat~ and as identical with the world-creator one who at the time was so recently deceased that xnany of his contemporaries were still alive. For apotheoses of this nature and magnitude, which are otherwise seriously meant, require many centuries for their gradual maturity. On the other hand, we could advance an ·argument against the genuineness of the Pauline Epistles as a whole. I might conclude that in general our gospels are based on something original or at any rate on a fragment from the time and associations of Jesus himself precisely from the objectionable prophecy of the end of the world and of the glorious return of the Lord in the clouds, which were to take place even in the lifetime of some who were present when the promise was made. That this promise remained unfulfilled is an exceedingly annoying circumstance which not only gave offence in later times, but already caused embarrassment to Paul and Peter. This is discussed in detail in the eminently readable book by Reimarus entitled Vom Zwecke Jesu und seiner ]finger, §§ 42-4. Now if the gospels had been written some hundred years later without existing contemporary documents, one would have taken good care not to introduce prophecies whose objectionable non-fulfilment was at that ti1ne already quite evident. Just as little would one have introduced into the gospels all those passages whence Reimarus very shrewdly construes what he calls the first system of disciples and according to which Jesus was for them only a temporal deliverer of the Jews, unless the authors of the gospels had worked on the basis of contemporary documents that contained such passages. For even a merely oral tradition among the faithful would have shed some things which would land the faith in difficulties. Incidentally, Reimarus has there comes a time when they produce the opposite effect. The gospels tried to support their credibility through the account of miracles, but in this way they undermined their authenticity. The miracles in the Bible should demonstrate its truth, hut they have the opposite effect. Theologians try either to allegorize the miracles of the Bible or to put them on a natural footing in order somehow to be rid of them. For they feel that miraculum sigillum mendacii. ['A miracle is a sign of falsehood!]


inexplicably overlooked the passage John 1 1 : 48 (to be compared with I :50 and 6: I 5) which is above all favourable to his hypothesis, likewise Matthew 27:28-30, Luke 23: 1-4, 37, 38, and John 19: 19-22. But if we wished seriously to assert this hypothesis and follow it up, we should have to assume that the religious and moral elements in Christianity were put together by Alexandrian Jews acquainted with Indian and Buddhist doctrines, and that a political hero with his melancholy fate was then made the point of contact with those doctrines, in that the originally earthly Messiah was transformed into a heavenly. But there is certainly very much to be said against this. Nevertheless, the mythical principle, advanced by Strauss for the explanation of the gospel story, certainly remains the correct one, at any rate for the details thereof; and it will be difficult to make out how far the principle extends. Generally with regard to what is mythical, we must explain it from examples that lie nearer at hand and are less doubtful. Thus, for instance, in the whole of the Middle Ages, in France as well as in England, King Arthur is a remarkable figure, finn, assertive, and very active, who appears always with the same character and the same retinue. With his Round Table, his knights, his unprecedented deeds of heroism, his eccentric seneschal, his faithless spouse and her Lance lot of the Lake, and so on, he has for centuries formed the constant theme of poets and writers of fiction. .All these authors present us with the same persons having the same characters, and even in the events they agree fairly well; only in the costumes and manners do they differ markedly from one another, namely in accordance with the age in which ~ach of them lived. Some years ago, the French I\1inistry sent M. de Ia Villemarque to England to inquire into the origin of the myths of this King Arthur. As regards the fundamental facts, the result was that, at the beginning of the sixth century, there lived in Vvales a petty chieftain named Arthur who persistently fought the Saxon invaders but whose trivial deeds are, however, forgotten. From this there emerged, heaven knows why, a splendid figure, celebrated throughout many centuries in innumerable songs, romances, and novels. See Contes populaires

des anciens Bretons, avec un essay sur l'origine des !popees sur la table ronde, by Th. de Ia Villemarque, two volumes, 1842; also The Lift cif King Arthur from Ancient Historians and Authentic Documents



by Ritson, 1825, in which he appears as a remote, indistinct, and nebulous figure, yet not without a real core. It is almost exactly the same with Roland, who is the hero of the entire Middle Ages and is celebrated in innumerable songs, epic stories, and works o( fiction, and even by the Pillars of Roland, unti] finally he furnishes Ariosto with his material and thence rises transfigured. Now this is mentioned by history only on one solitary occasion and in three words, namely that Einhard reckons him to be one of the notabilities who remained at Roncevaux as Hroudlandus, Britannici limitis praefectus; 46 and this is all we know of him. In the same way, all that we really know of Jesus Christ is the passage in Tacitus (Annals, lib. xv, c. 44). Yet another example is afforded by the Cid, the world-famous Spaniard, who is glorified by legends and chronicles, but above all by folk-songs in the famous and very beautiful Romancero, and finally also by Corneille's best tragedy. Here, too, in the main events, they agree fairly well, especially as regards Chimene. On the other hand, the meagre historical data tell us nothing about him except to say that he was a bold and gallant knight and distinguished leader, but of a very cruel, treacherous, and even mercenary character, serving one side and then the other, and more often the Saracens than the Christians, almost like a condottiere, yet wedded to a Chimene. Details can be seen in Recherches sur l' histoire de l' Espagne, by Dozy, 1 849, vol. i, who appears to be the first to arrive at the correct source. What indeed may be the historical foundation of the Iliad? In fact, to go fully into the matter, Jet us recall the anecdote about Newton and his apple the groundlessness of which I discussed in § 86; yet is has been repeated in a thousand books. Even Euler, in the first volume of his Letters to a German Princess, did not fail to paint the story con amore. If generally it should be a matter of great importance with regard to all history, then our race must not be given, as it unfortunately is, to such infernal lying.

§ r8o Sects A.ugustinism with its dogma of original sin and everything connected therewith is, as I have said, the real Christianity 46 ['

Hrouland, commander of the British border district'.]


easily understood. Pelagianism, on the other hand, is the attempt to reduce Christianity to crude and shallow Judaism with its • • optlmtsm. The contrast between Augustinism and Pelagianism which permanently divides the Church, could be traced to its ultimate ground, namely to the fact that the former speaks of the essencein-itself of things, whereas the latter speaks of the phenomenon, taking this, however, to be the essence. For example, the Pelagian denies original sin, for he argues that the child who has not yet done anything at all must be innocent. Thus he does not see that, as a phenomenon, the child certainly does begin to exist, but not as a thing-in-itself. It is the same as regards the freedom of the will, the expiatory death of the Saviour, grace, in short, everything. In consequence of its obvious and shallow nature, Pelagianism always predominates, now more than ever as rationalism. The Greek Church is moderated in a Pelagian sense and likewise, since the Concilium T ridentinum, 47 the Catholic, which thereby endeavoured to set itself up in opposition to the Augustinian, and thus mystically minded, Luther, and also to Calvin. To the same extent, the Jesuits are semi-Pelagian. On the other hand, the Jansenists are Augustinian and their point of view might well be the most genuine form of Christianity. For since Protestantism has rejected celibacy and generally asceticism proper as well as the representatives thereof, namely the saints, it has become a blunted, or rather disjointed, Christianity with its point broken off; it ends in nothing.*

§ 181 Rationalism The centre and heart of Christianity consist of the doctrine of the Fall, original sin, the depravity of our natural state, and the corruption of man according to nature. Connected with this are intercession and atonement through the Redeemer, in which we share through faith in him. But Christianity thus shows itself to be pessimisn1 and is, therefore, diametrically opposed to the • In Protestant churches the most conspicuous object is the pulpit, in Catholic, the flllar. This symbolizes thAt Protestantism appeals in the first instance to the understanding, whereas Catholicism appeals to faith . •, ('Council of Trent'



optimism of Judaism as also of Islam, the genuine offspring thereof; on the other hand, it is related to Brahmanism and Buddhism. In Adam all have sinned and are damned; whereas in the Saviour all are redeemed. This also expresses that the real essence and true root of man reside not in the individual, but in the species which ·is the (Platonic) Idea of man, the individuals being merely the phenomenal appearance of that Idea spread out in time. The fundamental difference in religions is to be found in the question whether they are optimism or pessimism, certainly not whether they are monotheism, polytheism, Trimurti, Trinity, pantheism, or atheism (like Buddhism). :For this reason, the Old and New Testaments are diametrically opposed and their amalgamation forms a queer centaur. The Old Testament is optimism, the New pessimism. As }h-eviously shown, the former comes from the doctrine of Ormuzd, the latter, according to its inner spirit, is related to Brahmanism and Buddhism and so, in all probability, can somehow be historically derived therefrom. The former is in the major key, the latter in the minor. The only exception in the Old Testament is the Fall, but there it remains unused like an hors d'oeuvre until Christianity again takes it up as its only suitable point of contact. But our present-day rationalists, following in the footsteps of Pelagius, use all their efforts to obliterate the above-mentioned fundamental characteristic of Christianity which Augustine, Luther, and Melanchthon had very accurately interpreted and systematized as far as they could. They endeavour to do away with exegesis in order to reduce Christianity to an insipid, egoistical, optimistic Judaism with the addition of a better morality and future life, as is required by an optimism that is consistently maintained. This is done so that the splendour and delight may not too quickly cOine to an end, and death may be put off which cries out all too loudly at the optimistic view of things and, like the marble statue, comes ulti1nately to the happy and cheerful Don Juan. These rationalists are honest men, yet they are trite and shallow fellows who have not an inkling of the profound meaning of the New Testament myth and cannot go beyond Jewish optimism. They understand this, and it is to their liking. They want the naked dry-as-dust truth both in the historical and the dogmatic. Vve can compare them to the


euhemerism of antiquity. What the supernaturalists offer us is, of course, fundamentally a mythology; but this is the vehicle of profound and important truths which could not in any other way be brought within the reach of the understanding of the masses. On the other hand, how remote these rationalists are from all knowledge, indeed from every inkling, of the meaning and spirit of Christianity, is shown, for example, by their great apostle W egscheider in his naive Institutiones tluologiae christianae dogmaticae where (§ 1 I 5 with notes and remarks) he does not scruple to set up Cicero's dull and shallow twaddle in the books De officiis in opposition to the profound utterances of Augustine and the reformers concerning original sin and the essential depravity of man as met with in nature; for such twaddle is much more to his taste. One must really marvel at the naivete and simplicity with which this man displays his dryness, shallowness, and even total lack of insight into the spirit of Christianity. But he is only unus e multis:• 8 Bretschneider has removed original sin frmn his exegesis of the Bible, whereas original sin and salvation constitute the essence of Christianity. On the other hand, it is undeniable that the supernaturalists are occasionally something much worse, namely priests in the worst sense of the word. May Christianity then see how it is to steer between Scylla and Charybdis. The common error of the two sides is that in religion they look for the plain, dry, literal, and unvarnished truth. But only philosophy aspires to this. Religion has only a truth that is suited to the people, one that is indirect, symbolical, and allegorical. Christianity is an allegory that reflects a true idea, but in itself the allegory is not what is true. To assume this, however, is the error into which both supernaturalists and rationalists fall. The former try to maintain that the allegory in itself is true; the latter model it and give it a fresh interpretation until it can be true in itself according to their standard. Each side accordingly disputes with the other and uses pertinent and powerful arguments. The rationalists say to the supernaturalists: 'Your doctrine is not true.' The supernaturalists retort: 'Your doctrine is not Christianity', and both are right. The rationalists imagine that they take reason [ Vernurifi] as their standard, but in point of fact they take for this 48

['One of many'.]



purpose only reason that is restricted and confined to the assumptions of theism and optin1ism, something like Rousseau's Profession de foi du vicaire Savoyard, this prototype of all rationalism. Thus of the Christian dogma they will admit nothing except what they regard as true sensu proprio, namely theism and the immortal soul. But it: with the effrontery of ignorance, they appeal here to pure reason, we must serve them up with the Critique of Pure Reason in order to force them to the view that these dogmas of theirs, which have been selected for retention as rational, are based merely on a transcendent application of immanent principles and accordingly constitute only an uncritical, and hence untenable, philosophical dogmatism. On every page the Critique of Pure Reason opposes this, and shows it to be quite futile; and so its very title proclaims its antagonism to rationalism. Accordingly, whereas supernaturalism has allegorical truth, no truth at all can be attributed to rationalism. The rationalists are quite wrong. \Vhoever wishes to be a rationalist must be a philosopher and, as such, emancipate himself from all authority; he must go forward and shrink from nothing. But if he wants to be a theologian, then he must be consistent and not abandon the foundation of authority, even when this calls on him to believe the incomprehensible and inexplicable. One cannot serve two masters; and so it must be either reason or holy scripture. Juste milieu 49 here means falling between two stools. Either believe or philosophize! Whatever is chosen must be entirely accepted. To believe up to a certain point and no further and likewise to philosophize up to a certain point and no further-these are half-measures that constitute the fundan1ental characteristics of rationalism. On the other hand, the rationalists are morally justified in so far as they go to work quite honestly and deceive only themselves; whereas the supernaturalists, with their claim of truth sensu proprio for a mere allegory, often try to mislead others intentionally. Yet by their efforts, the truth contained in the allegory is saved, whereas in their northern hmudrum dullness the rationalists throw this out of the window and with it the whole essence of Christianity. In fact, they ultimately arrive step by step at the stage to which Voltaire had soared eighty years ago. It is often amusing to see 49

['The happy mean'.]



how, when fixing the attributes of God (his quidditas or essence), where the mere word and shibboleth 'God' no longer suffice, those rationalists carefully aim at hitting the juste milieu between a human being and a force of nature; which is, of course, very difficult. :rvioreover, in this struggle between rationalists and supernaturalists, the two parties obliterate each other, as did the armed men from the dragon's teeth sown by Cadmus. Here from a certain direction active hypocrisy deals the matter its death-blow. Thus just as in the carnivals of Italian cities crazy masks are seen running about arnong rnatter-of-fact people who are seriously going about their business, so too in Germany we now see Tartuffes or religious hypocrites flocking among the philosophers, physicists, historians, critics, and rationalists, in the garb of a period that is already centuries in the past; and the effect is burlesque, especially when they harangue. Those who imagine that the sciences can go on progressing and become ever more widespread, without this preventing religion from lasting and flourishing eternally, labour under a grave error. Physics and metaphysics are the natural foes of religion which is, therefore, their enemy and strives at all times to suppress them, just as they endeavour to undermine it. It is positively ridiculous to attempt to speak of peace and harmony between the two; it is a bellum ad Religions are the offspring of ignorance who do not long survive their mother. Omar indeed understood this when he burnt the Alexandrian library, his reason being that the contents of the books were either contained in the Koran or were superfluous. This excuse is regarded as silly, but it is very shrewd if only it is understood cum grano salis,s 1 where he then states that if the sciences go beyond the Koran, they are the enemies of religions and so are not to be tolerated. It would be much better for Christianity if the Christian rulers had been as cunning as Omar. However, it is now a little too late to burn all books, to abolish academies, and to chill to the marrow universities with a pro ratione voluntas,sz in order to bring mankind back to where it stood in the Middle Ages. For with a handful of obscurantists nothing can be done; today we see them like men who want to put out the light in so ['War of life and death'.] .sa ['With a grain of salt'.] s:t ('My will (to do something) is my reason (for doing it).']



order to steal. For it is obvious that nations are gradually thinking of shaking off the yoke of faith; the symptoms of this are seen everywhere, although in each country they are differently modified. The cause is too much knowledge that has spread among them. Knowledge of every kind which daily increases and in all directions becomes ever more widely diffused) broadens to such an extent everyone's horizon, according to his range) that it is bound in the end to reach a size at which the myths that constitute the skeleton of Christianity shrink so that faith can no longer cling to them. Mankind outgrows religion just as it does the clothes of childhood; there is no stopping it; the garment is splitting and bursting. Faith and knowledge in the same mind do not go well together; they are like a wolf and a sheep in one fold, and of course knowledge is the wolf that threatens to devour its neighbour. We see religion in its death-agony cling to morality for which it would like to pass itself off as the mother; but this will not do at all! Genuine morals and morality are not dependent on any religion, although every religion sanctions them and thereby affords them support. Driven in the first instance from the middle classes, Christianity takes refuge in the lowest where it appears as a conventicle institution) and in the upper, where it is a matter of politics; but we should bear in mind that here Goethe's words apply: We feel intention and are put out of tune. (Tasso,



Here Condorcet's passage mentioned in§ 174 will again suggest itself to the reader. Faith is like love; it cannot be forced. It is, therefore, a hazardous undertaking to try to introduce or establish it by measures of state. For just as the effort to force love engenders hatred, so does the attempt to force belief result in a positive unbelief.* Only quite indirectly and thus by preparations • What a bad conscience religion must have can be judged from the fact that it is forbidden under pain of heavy penalties to deride and make fu:n of it. European governments forbid every attack on the established religion. They themselves, however, send to the countries of Brahmanism and Buddhism missionaries who zealously attack those religions root and branch, to make room for their own imported religion. And then they yell and raise an outcry when a Chinese emperor or a mandarin of Tun kin chops off the heads of such people.



carried out well in advance can faith be developed and encouraged, that is, by our preparing for it a good soil in which it will thrive; such a soil is ignorance. Therefore in England, from very early times down to our own, care has been taken that twothirds of the nation are unable to read; and so to this day there prevails in that country a blind and implicit faith such as we should look for in vain elsewhere. But if even in England the government takes public instruction out of the hands of the clergy, it will soon be all over with the faith. And so generally through being constantly undermined by the sciences, Christianity is gradually approaching its end. Meanwhile, there might be some hope for it from the reflection that only those religions perish which have no scriptures. The religion of the Greeks and Romans, those world-powers, has perished. The religion of the contemptible little Jewish race, on the other hand, has been preserved; and in the same way that of the Zend people is preserved among the Guebres. The religions of the Gauls, Scandinavians, and ancient Germans, on the contrary, have disappeared. Brahmanism and Buddhism, however, continue to exist and flourish; they are the oldest of all the religions and have full and detailed scriptures.

§ 182 A religion which has as its foundation a single event, and in fact tries to make the turning-point of the world and of all existence out of that event that occurred at a definite time and place, has so feeble a foundation that it cannot possibly survive, the moment men come to reflect on the matter. How wise in Buddhism, on the other hand, is the assumption of the thousand .Buddhas, lest it appear as in Christianity, where Jesus Christ has redeemed the world and no salvation is possible without him; but four thousand years, whose monuments exist in Egypt, Asia, and Europe in all their greatness and glory, could not know anything of him, and those ages with all their glories went to the devil without ever seeing him! The many Buddhas are necessary because at the end of each kalpa the world perishes and with it the teaching, so that a new world requires a new Buddha. Salvation always exists. That civilization is at its highest level among Christian nations is due not to Christiani!J's being favourable to it, but to the fact



that that religion has declined and now has little influence. So long as it had influence, civilization was very backward, as for instance in the Middle Ages. On the other hand, Islam, Brahmanism, and Buddhism still have a decisive influence on life; in China the influence is still at a minimmn and so the civilization there is somewhat like that in Europe. All religion is antagonistic to culture. In previous centuries religion was a forest behind which armies could halt and take cover. The attempt to repeat this in our day has met with a sharp rebuff. For after so many fellings, it is now only scrub and brushwood, behind which rogues and swindlers occasionally hide themselves. We should, therefore, beware of those w,ho would like to drag it into everything and should n1eet them with the proverb previously quoted: detras de la cruz estd el diablo.sJ SJ


['Behind the cross stands the devil.']


Some Remarks on Sanskrit Literature § 183 Much as I admire and respect the religious and philosophical works of Sanskrit literature, only rarely have I been able to find any pleasure in the poetical works. Indeed, at times it seemed to me that these were as inelegant and monstrous as is the sculpture of the same peoples. Even their dramatic works I appreciate mainly on account of the most instructive elucidations and verifications olthe religious belief and n10rals which they contain. All this may be due to the fact that, by its very nature, poetry is untranslatable. For in it thoughts and words have grown together as firmly and intimately as pars uterina et pars foetalis placentae, 1 so that we cannot substitute foreign equivalents for the words without affecting the ideas. Yet all metre and rhyme arc in reality a comprotnise between language and thought; but by its nature such a compromise can be carried out only on the native soil of the thought, not on the foreign ground to which it tnight be transplanted, and certainly not on one as barren as are usually the minds of translators. After all, what greater contrast can there be than that between the free effusion of a poet's inspiration which already appears clot.d automatically and instinctively in metre and rhyme and the translator's painful, cold, and calculating distress as he counts the syllables and looks for the rhymes? Moreover, as there is now in Europe no lack of poetical works that directly appeal to us, but a very great dearth of correct metaphysical views, I am of the opinion that translators from Sanskrit should devote their efforts 1nuch less to poetry and much more to the Vedas, Upanishads, and philosophical works. '-'

§ 184 When I consider how difficult it is, with the aid of the best and most carefully trained scholars and of the excellent philo1

['The part of the uterus and the part of the foetus in the placenta'.]



logical resources achieved in the course of centuries, to arrive at a really precise, accurate, and vivid appreciation of Greek and Roman authors whose languages are those of our predecessors in Europe and are the mothers of tongues still living; when, on the other hand, I think of Sanskrit as a language spoken in remote India thousands of years ago and that the means for learning it are still relatively very imperfect; finally, when I consider the impression made on me by the translations from Sanskrit of European scholars, apart from very few exceptions, then I am inclined to suspect that perhaps our Sanskrit scholars do not understand their texts any better than do the fifth-form boys of our own schools their Greek texts. Since, however, these scholars are not boys but men of knowledge and understanding, it is possible that on the whole they make out fairly well the sense of what they really understand, whereby much may, of course, creep in ex ingenio. 2 It is even much worse with regard to the Chinese of European sinologists who often grope about in total darkness. Of this we are convinced when we see how even the most painstaking correct one another and demonstrate one another's colossal mistakes. Instances of this kind are frequently found in the Foe Kue Ki of Abel Remusat. On the other hand, when I reflect that Sultan Mohammed Dara Shikoh, brother of Aurangzeb, was born and brought up in India, was a scholar and thinker, and craved for knowledge; that he, therefore, probably understood Sanskrit as well as we understand Latin; and that, in addition, a number of the most learned pundits collaborated with him, this predisposes me to a high opinion of his Persian translation of the Upanishadsef the • Veda. Further, when I see with what profound veneration, in keeping with the subject, Anquetil-Duperron handled this Persian translation, rendering it word for word into 4tin, accurately keeping to the Persian syntax in spite of the Latin grammar, and content merely to accept the Sanskrit words left untranslated by the Sultan in order to explain these in a glossary, I read this translation with the fullest confidence, which is at once delightfully confirmed. For how thoroughly redolent of the holy spirit of the Vedas is the Oupnekhat! How deeply stirred is he who, by diligent and careful reading, is now a ['From natural talent'.]



conversant with the Persian-Latin rendering of this incomparable book! How imbued is every line with firm, definite, and harmonious significance! From every page we come across profound, original, and sublime thoughts, whilst a lofty and sacred earnestness pervades the whole. Here everything breathes the air of India and radiates an existence that is original and akin to nature. And oh, how the mind is here cleansed and purified of all Jewish superstition that was early implanted in it, and of all philosophy that slavishly serves this! With the exception of the original text, it is the most profitable and sublime reading that is possible in the world; it has been the consolation of my life and will be that of my death. With regard to ·certain suspicions that have been raised about the genuineness of the Oupnekhat, I refer to my Two Fundamental Problems of Ethics, 'Basis of Ethics', § 22, second footnote. Now if I compare this with the European translations of sacred Indian texts or of Indian philosophers, then (with vet)' few exceptions, such as the Bhagar1adgita by Schlegel and some passages in Colebrooke's translations from the Vedas) these have the opposite effect on me. They furnish us with periods whose sense is universal, abstract, vague, and often indefinite, and which are disjointed and incoherent. I get a n1ere outline of the ideas of the original text with little pieces of padding, wherein I notice something foreign. Contradictions appear from time to time and everything is modern, empty, dull, flat, destitute of meaning, and occidental. It is Europeanized, Anglicized, Frenchified, or even (what is worst of all) enveloped in a fog and mist of German. Thus instead of furnishing us with a clear and de~nite meaning, they give us mere words that are diffuse and high-sounding. For example, even the most recent by Rocr in the Bibliotheca Indica, No. 4 I, Calcutta, 1853, is one where we really recognize the German who, as such, is already accustomed to writing one period after another and then leaves it to others to think in them something clear and definite. Only too often is there in them also a trace of the foetor ]udaicus. All this lessens my confidence in such translations especially when I remember that the translators pursue their studies as a profession, whereas the noble Anquctil-Dupcrron did not seck a living here, but was urged to undertake this work 1ncrely through love of science and knowledge. I also reflect that Sultan Dara Shikoh's reward



was to have his head cut off by his imperial brother Aurangzeb, in majorem Dei gloriam.J I am firmly convinced that a real knowledge of the Upanishads and thus of the true and esoteric dogmas of the Vedas, can at present be obtained only from the Oupnekhat; we may have read through the other translations and yet have no idea of the subject. It also appears that Sultan Dara Shikoh had at his disposal much better and more complete Sanskrit manuscripts than had the English scholars.

§ I8S The Sanhita of the Veda certainly cannot be by the same authors or from the same period as that of the Upanishad. Of this we arc fully convinced when we read the first book of the Sanhita of the Rig- Veda, translated by Rosen and that of the Sarna- Veda translated by Stevenson. Thus both consist of "prayers and rituals that breathe a somewhat crude Sabianism. Here lndra is the supreme god who is invoked and with him the sun, moon, winds, and fire. The most servile adulations, together with requests for cows, food, drink, and victory, are repeated to these in all the hymns, and for this purpose sacrifices are made to them. These and donations to the priests are the only virtues that are commended. As Ormuzd (from whom Jehovah subsequently came) is really lndra (according to I. J. Schmidt) and moreover Mithra is the sun, so the fire worship of the Guebres came to them with lndra. The Upanishad is, as I have said, the product of the highest human wisdom and is intended only for learned Brahmans; and so Anquetil renders ' Upanishad' by the words secretum tegendum. • The Sanhita, on the other hand, is exoteric; although indirectly it is for the people, since its contents are liturgy and thus public prayers and sacrificial rituals. Accordingly, the Sanhita affords us exceedin~y insipid reading, to judge from the specimens already mentioned. For in his essay On the Religious Ceremonies of the Hindus, Colebrooke has certainly translated hymns from other books of the 'Sanhita, which breathe a spirit akin to the Upanishad, in particular the fine hymn in the second essay: 'The Embodied Spirit', and so on, a trans~ation of which I gave in § I I 5· ['For the greater glory of God'.) " ['A secret to be concealed.' (The real meaning of' Upanishad' is 'confidential secret meeting '.)] J



§ t86 At the time when the great rock-temples were being cut in India, the art of writing had possibly not yet been invented and the numerous bands of priests dwelling in them were the living receptacles of the Vedas, of which each priest or each school knew a portion by heart and handed it down, as was done by the Druids. Later the Upanishads were composed in those very temples and thus in the most dignified surroundings.

§ 187 The Samkhya philosophy which is regarded as the forerunner of Buddhism, and which in Wilson's translation we have before us in extenso in the Karika of Ishvara Krishna (although always through a cloud on account of the imperfection of even this translation), is interesting and instructive. For the principal dogmas of all Indian philosophy, such as the necessity for salvation from a tragic existence, transmigration according to deeds, knowledge as the fundamental condition of salvation, and so on, are presented to us in all their fullness and completeness and with that lofty earnestness with which they have been considered in India for thousands of years. Nevertheless, we see the whole of this philosophy impaired by a false fundamental idea, namely the absolute dualism between Prakriti and Purusha. But this is also the very point wherein the Samkhya differs from the Vedas. Prakriti is evidently the natura naturanss and at the same time matter in itself, in other words, without any form, such as is merely conceived and not intuitively perceived. So understood, it can be regarded as actually identical with the natura naturans in so far as it gives birth to everything. Purusha, however, is the subject of knowing; for it is the mere spectator who is inactive and perceives. Yet the two are now taken to be absolutely different from, and independent of, each ?ther, whereby the explanation why Prakriti toils and struggles for the salvation of Purusha proves to be inadequate (1. 6o). Further, in the whole work, it is taught that the salvation of Purusha is the final goal; on the other hand, it is suddenly Prakriti that is to be saved (ll. 62, 63). All these contradictions would disappear if we had a common root for Prakriti and s ['Creating nature'. (Term used by Spinoza and other philosophers.)]



Purusha to which everything pointed, even in spite of Kapila; or ifPurusha were a modification ofPrakriti, thus if somehow or other the dualism were abolished. To give any sense and meaning to the thing, I can see nothing but the will in Prakriti and the subject of knowing in Purusha. A peculiar feature of pedantry and narrowness in the Samkhya is the system of numbers, the summation and enumeration of qualities and attributes. This, however, appears to be customary in India, for the very same thing is done in the Buddhist scriptures.

§ 188 The moral meaning of metempsychosis in all Indian religions is not merely that in a subsequent rebirth we have to atone for every wrong we commit, but also that we must regard every wrong befalling us as thoroughly deserved through our misdeeds in a former existence. 4

§ 189 That the three upper castes are called twice born may yet be explained, as is usually suggested, from the fact that the investiture with the sacred thread which is conferred on the youths of those castes when they come of age is, so to speak, a second birth. But the real reason is that only in consequence of great merits in a previous life does a man come to be born in those castes; and that he must, therefore, have existed in such a life as a human being. On the other hand, whoever is born in a lower caste, or even in the lowest, may have previously been even an animal. You laugh at the aeons and kalpas of Buddhism! Christianity, of course, has taken u~ a standpoint, whence it surveys a brief span of time. Buddhism's standpoint is one that presents it with the infinity of time and space, which then becomes its theme. Just as the Lalitavistara, to begin with, was fairly simple and natural, but became more complicated and supernatural with every new edition it underwent in each of the subsequent councils, so did the same thing happen to the dogma itself whose few simple and sublime precepts gradually became jumbled, confused, and complicated through detailed discussions, spatial



and temporal representations, personifications, empirical localizations, and so on. For the minds of the masses like it so, in that they want to indulge in fanciful pursuits and are not satisfied with what is simple and abstract. The Brahmanistic dogmas and distinctions of Brahm and Brahma, of Paramatma and Jivatma, Hiranya-Garbha, Prajapati, Purusha, Prakriti, and the like (these are admirably and briefly expounded in Obry's excellent book Du Nirvana indien 1856), are at bottom merely mythological fictions, made for the purpose of presenting objectively that which has essentially and absolutely only a subjective existence. For this reason, the Buddha dropped them and knows of nothing except Samsara and Nirvana. For the more jumbled, confused, and complex the dogmas became, the more mythological they were. The rogi or Sannyasi best understands who methodically assumes the right posture, withdraws into himself all his senses, and forgets the entire world, himself included. What is then still left in his consciousness is primordial being. But this is more easily said than done. The depressed state of the Hindus, who were once so highly cultured, is the result of the terrible oppression which they suffered for seven hundred years at the hands of the Mohammedans who tried forcibly to convert them to Islam. Now only one-eighth of the population of India is Mohammedan. (Edinburgh Review, January 1858.)

§ 190 The passages lib. III, c. 20 and lib. VI, c. 1 1 in the Life of Apollonius of Tyana are also indications that the Egyptians (Ethiopians), or at any rate their priests, came from India. It is probable that the mythology of the Greeks and Romans is just as remotelv' related to the Indian as are Greek and Latin to Sanskrit, and as is the Egyptian Inythology to both. (Is Coptic from the Japhetic or Semitic group of languages?) Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades are probably Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. The latter has a trident whose object is unexplained in the case of Poseidon. The Nile key, crux ansata, 6 the sign of Venus ~' is just the lin gam and yoni of the followers of Shiva. Osiris or Isiris 6 [' Cross

provided with a ring ' ; 'ansate cross '.]



is possibly Ishvara, Lord and God. Egyptians and Indians worshipped the lotus. Might not Janus (about whom Schelling* gave a university lecture and whom he declared to be the primary and original One) be Yama the god of death who has two and sometimes four faces? In time of war the portals of death are opened. Perhaps Prajapati is Japheth. The goddess Anna Purna of the Hindus (Langles, Monuments de l' Hindoustan, vol. ii, p. 107) is certainly the Anna Perenna of the Romans. Baghis, a nickname of Shiva, reminds one of the seer Bakis (ibid., vol. i, p. 178). In the Sakuntala (Act VI, end p. 131) the name Diuespetir occurs as a nickname of lndra; this is obviously Diespiter.' There is much to be said in favour of the identity of the Buddha with Woden; according to Langles (Monuments, vol. ii) Wednesday (\Vodensday) is sacred to ~ Mercury and the Buddha. Corban, in the Oupnekhat sacrificium, occurs in St. Mark 7: I I : Kopf3av (o Swpov), Latin: Corban, i.e. munus Deo dicatum.s But the following is the most important. The planet ~ Mercury is sacred to the Buddha, is to a certain extent identified with him, and Wednesday is Buddha's day. Now Mercury is the son of Maya, and Buddha was the son of Maya the Queen. This cannot be pure chance! 'Here lies a minstrel' say the Swabians. See, however, Manual of Budhism, p. 354, note, and Asiatic Researches, vol, i, p. 162. Spence Hardy (Eastern Monaclzism, p. I 22) reports that the robes that are to be presented to the priests at a certain ceremony must be woven and made up in one day. Herodotus, lib. 11, c. 122, gives a similar account of a garment that is presented to a priest on a ceremonial occasion. The autochthon of the Germans is Mannus; his son is Tuiskon. In the Oupnekhat (vol. ii, p. 347, and vol. i, p. g6) the first human being is called Man. It is well known that Satyavrati is identical with Menu or • Schelling's explanation of Janus (in the Berlin Academy) is that he signifies 'chaos as primary unity'. A much more thorough explanation is given by Walz, De religUm.e Romanorum antiquissima, (in the prospectus ofTiibingen University) 1845· '[Jupiter.] s ['Corban, that is to say, a gift' (An Aramaic word inserted by the Persian translators and not occurring in the Sanskrit text).]



Manu, and, on the other hand, with Noah. Now the father of Samson is Manoah (Judges 13); Manu, Manoah, Noah; the Septuagint has Mavwl and Nw£. Might not N oe be exactly the same as Mance with the omission of the first syllable? Among the Etruscans Jupiter was called Tina (Moreau de Jones at the Academy of Moral and Political Science, Decen1ber 185o). Perhaps this might be connected with the Chinese Tien. The Etruscans had the Anna Perenna of the Hindus. All these analogies are thoroughly investigated by Wilford and Burr in the Asiatic Researches.


Some Archaeological Observations § 191 The name Pelasger, undoubtedly connected with Pelagus, is the general description for the small isolated Asiatic tribes who were supplanted and dispersed, and were the first to reach Europe, where they soon entirely forgot their native culture, tradition, and religion. On the other hand, favourably influenced by a fine and temperate climate and good soil as also by the many coasts of Greece and Asia Minor, they attained, under the name of the Hellenes, a perfectly natural evolution and purely human culture whose perfection has never occurred elsewhere. Accordingly, they had nothing hut a half-comic, childlike religion; seriousness took refuge in the Mysteries and the tragedy. To that Greek nation alone arc we indebted for a correct interpretation and natural presentation of the human form and features, for the discovery of the only correct and regular proportions of architecture, fixed by them for all time, for the development of all genuine forms of poetry together with the invention of really beautiful metres, for the establishment of philosophical systems in all the main directions of human thought, for the clements of mathematics, for the foundations of a rational legislation, and generally for the normal presentation of a truly fine and noble human existence. For this select little people of the Muses and Graces was, so to speak, endowed with an instinct for beauty which extended to everything, to faces, forms, postures, dress, weapons, buildings, vessels, implements, utensils, and so forth, and never on any occasion forsook them. We shall, therefore, always be remote from the canons of good taste and beauty to the extent that we ren1ove ourselves from the influence of the Greeks, especially in sculpture and architecture. The ancients will never become obsolete; they are and remain the lodestar for all our efforts, whether in literature or the plastic arts, and we must never lose sight of this. Discredit and disgrace await the age that dares to set aside the ancients.



If, therefore, some perverted, wretched, and materially minded 'modem age' 1 should desert the ancient school in order to feel more at ease in its overweening presumption, then it is sowing the seeds of ignomy and dishonour. We may possibly characterize the spirit of the ancients by saying that, as a rule, they tried in all things to keep as near as possible to nature; whereas the spirit of modern times might be characterized as an attempt to get as far from her as possible. Consider the dress, customs, implements, dwellings, vessels, art, religion, and mode of life of the ancients and of the moderns. On the other hand, the Greeks are far behind us in mechanical and technical arts as well as in all branches of natural science, for such things require time, patience, method, and experience rather than high intellectual powers. And so from most of the works on natural science by the ancients there is little we can learn except to realize what they did not know. Whoever wants to know how incredibly ignorant in physics and physiology the ancients were, should read the Prohlemata Aristotelis; they are a real specimen ignorantiae veterum. z It is true that the problems are often correctly, and sometimes cleverly, conceived, but the solutions are for the most part pathetic because he knows no elements of explanation except always

,e ,








, {; ,

, vypov. . ,

TO r.:, 7]pov Kct.L


Like the ancient Germans, the Greeks were a race which had immigrated from Asia into Europe, a nomadic tribe; and, remote from their native lands, both educated themselves entirely from their own resources. But see what the Greeks became and what the ancient Germans! Just compare, for example, their mythologies; for the Greeks later established their poetry and philosophy on their mythology; their first teachers were the ancient minstrels Orpheus, Musaeus, Amphion, Linus, and finally Homer. Then came the Seven Wise Men and finally the philosophers. Thus the Greeks, so to speak, went through the three classes of their school; there is no mention of such a thing among the ancient Germans before the migration. No ancient German literature, or JVihelungen, or other poets of the Middle Ages should be taught in German gymnasia. It is [Schopenhauer uses the cacophonous word]et;:t;:eit, which he often condemns.) .:~ ['Specimen of the ignorance of the ancients'.) ) ['Hot and cold, dry and moist'.] 1



true that these things are well worth noting and reading, but they do not contribute to the cultivation of taste and take up time that should be devoted to ancient and really classical literature. Now, my noble German patriots, if you put ancient German doggerel in place of Greek and Roman classics, you will rear none but lazy and idle loungers. To compare these Nibelungen with the Iliad is rank blasphemy from which the ears of youth, more than anything else, should be spared.

§ 192 The Ode of Orpheus in the First Book of the Eclogues of Stobaeus is Indian pantheism, playfully embellished by the plastic sense of the Greeks. It is, of course, not by Orpheus, yet it is old; for a part of it is already mentioned in the pseudoAristotelean De mundo, a book that has recently been attributed to Chrysippus. It might well be based on something genuinely Orphean; in fact one feels tempted to regard it as a document of the transition of Indian religion to Hellenistic polytheisn1. In any case, we can take it as an antidote to the much-lauded hymn of Cleanthes to Zeus, which is given in the same book and has an unmistakable Jewish odour, and thus gives so much pleasure. I can never believe that Cleanthes, a Stoic and so a pantheist, made this nauseous adulation, but suspect that the author was some Alexandrian jew. At all events, it is not right so to misuse the name of the son of Kronos. Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos express the same fundamental idea as Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva; but this idea is too natural for us to have to infer for that reason a historical relationship.

§ 193 In Homer the many phrases, metaphors, similes, and expressions, occurring without end, are inserted so stiffly, rigidly, and mechanically, as though this had been done by routine and rule of thumb.

§ 1 94 The fact that poetry is older than prose, since Pherecydes was the first to write philosophy and Hecataeus of Miletus * the first *Herodotus mentions him in another connection, vt. 137.



to write history in prose, and that this was regarded by the ancients as a memorable occasion, may be explained as follows. Before men wrote at all, they tried to perpetuate, unadulterated, facts and ideas worth preserving by recording them in verse. Now when they began to write, it was natural for them to put down everything in verse, for they simply did not know that memorable occasions were preserved in any other way than in verse. Those first prose-writers departed from this as from something that had become superfluous.

§ I94a Freemasonry is the sole vestige, or rather analogue, of the Mysteries of the Greeks. Admission into it is the p.vE'iaBat 4 and the TEAETat; s what is learnt are the, 6 and the different degrees are the p.tKpa, P."d~ova Kat ,.dytaTa p.van)pta.7 Such analogy is neither accidental nor hereditary, but is due to the thing springing from human nature. With the :t\.1ohammedans Sufism is an analogue of the Mysteries. As the Romans had no Mysteries of their own, people were initiated into those of foreign gods, especially of Isis, whose religious cult reached Rome at an early date.

§ 1 95 Our clothes have a certain influence on almost all our attitudes, gestures, and bearing. The ancients were not similarly influenced by theirs, for they were probably induced, in keeping with their aesthetic sense, by the feeling of such a drawback to keep their clothing loose and not tight-fitting. For this reason, when an actor wears an antique costume, he has to avoid all the movements and attitudes which are in any way caused by our clothes and have then become a habit. There is, therefore, no need for him to assume an air of puffed-up pomposity, as does a French buffoon when playing his Racine in toga and tunic. • ['To be initiated'.] s ['Initiations'; • mystic rites'.] fl ['Mysteries'.] 7 ('Small, greater, and greatest m}-steries'.]


Some Mythological Observations § 196 It may be a consequence of the primary and original relationship of all the beings of this phenomenal world by means of their unity in the thing-in-itself; at all events, it is a fact that collectively they bear a similar type and, in the case of all of them, certain laws are laid down as the same, if only in a general way they are adequately comprehended. From this it is easy to see that not only the most heterogeneous things can be mutually explained or made clear, but also striking allegories are found even in descriptions where they were not intended. Goethe's incomparably beautiful tale of the green serpent affords us an exquisite example of this. Every reader feels almost compelled to look for an allegorical meaning to it. And so immediately after the tale was published, this was undertaken most seriously and zealously and in many different ways, to the great amusement of the poet who, in this instance, had had no allegory in mind. An account of this is found in the Studien zu Goethes Werken, 1849 by Diintzer. Moreover, this was known to me long ago through personal statements from Goethe. The fable of Aesop owes its origin to that universal analogy and typical identity of things, and it is due to this that the historical can become allegorical and the allegorical historical. More than anything else, however, the mythology of the Greeks has from the earliest times provided material for allegorical explanations and interpretations. For it invites one to this by furnishing patterns for the graphic demonstration of practically every fundamental idea. In fact it contains to a certain extent the archetypes of all things and relations which, precisely as such, always and everywhere make their appearance. It has originated actually from the playful urge of the Greeks to personify everything; and so even in the earliest times, in fact by Hesiod himself, those myths were interpreted allegorically. For instance, it is simply a moral allegory when he



enumerates ( Theogony, 11. 2 1 1 ff.) the children of night and shortly afterwards (11. 226 ff.) those of Eris, namely effort, exertion, injury, 1 hunger, pain, conflict, murder, quarrelling, lying, injustice, dishonesty, harm, and the oath. Again, his description of personified night and day, of sleep and death, is physical allegory (ll. 746-65). For every cosmological, and even metaphysical, system it will be possible, for the reason stated, to find in mythology an allegory. In general we have to regard most myths as the expressions of truths that are dimly divined rather than of those that are clearly conceived. For those early and original Greeks were just like Goethe in his youth; they were absolutely incapable of expressing their ideas except in metaphors and similes. On the other hand, I must dismiss with Aristotle's rebuff: &A,\..wfJY! [maltreatment] instead of ).~8Y] (forgetfulness]. 1. ['As far as mythical drivel is concerned, it is not worth while senously to consider it.'] 1



primary generation of living species ceases after the first worldperiod. Zeus, who is withdra\·vn from the voracity of his father, is matter; it alone eludes the mighty force of time which destroys all else; it persists and is permanent. But from it all things proceed; Zeus is the father of gods and 1nen. Now for some more detail: Uranus does not allow the children he has begotten with mother earth to see the light, but conceals them in the bowels of the earth (Hesiod, Theogony, 11. 156 ff.). This may be applied to nature's first animal products which we come across only in the fossil state. But in the bones of the megatheria and mastodons we can just as well see the giants whom Zeus had hurled down into the underworld; in fact even in the eighteenth century it was said that in then1 the bones of the fallen angels were recognized. But there actually seems to underlie the Theogony of Hesiod an obscure notion of the first changes of the globe and of the conflict between the oxydized surface capable of life and the ungovernable forces of nature that are driven by it into the interior and control the oxydizable substances. Further, Kronos, the crafty and wily, ay~ev~op.~•YJc:;, emasculates Uranus through cunning. This may be interpreted by saying that time, which steals over and gets the better of everything, and secretly takes away from us one thing after another, finally deprived even heaven, which with nwther earth, i.e. with nature, created things, of the power originally to produce new forms. But those already created continue to exist as species in time. Kronos, however, swallows up his own children; as time no longer produces species, but turns out merely individuals, she gives birth simply to mortal beings. ,(eus alone escapes from this fate; matter is permanent. But at the same time, heroes and sages are immortal. The following is a more detailed sequence of the foregoing events. After heaven and earth, i.e. nature, have lost their pm-ver of original creation which produced new forms, such power is transformed to Aphrodite who springs from the foam of Uranus's amputated genitals that had fallen into the sea and who is just the sexual production of mere individuals for the maintenance of existing species; since now new ones can no longer come into existence. For this purpose, Eros and Him eros arise as the aider and abettor of Aphrodite ( Tlzeogorry, II. 173-201 ).



§ 198 The connection, indeed the unity, of human nature with animals and the rest of nature, and consequently of the microcosm with the macrocosm, is expressed in the puzzling and mysterious sphinx, the centaurs, the Ephesian Artemis with the many different animal forms placed under her innumerable breasts, just as it is seen also in the Egyptian figures with human bodies and animal heads, and in the Indian Ganesha. Finally, we see it also in the Ninevitical bulls and lions with human heads which remind us of the Avatar as man-lion.

§ rgg The Iapetides exhibit the four basic qualities of human character together with their attendant sufferings. Atlas, the patient one, must bear. Menoetius, the valiant one, is overpowered and hurled to perdition. Prometheus, the prudent and clever one, is put in chains~ in other words, is impeded in his activity, and the vulture, i.e. sorrow, gnaws at his heart. Epimetheus, the thoughtless and heedless one, is punished by his own folly. Humanforesiglzt is quite properly personified in Prometheus, the thought for the morrow, an advantage that man has over the animal. Therefore Prometheus has the gift of prophecy; it signifies the ability to show prudence and foresight. He thus grants to man the use of fire which no animal has, and lays the foundation for the arts of life. But man must atone for this privilege of foresight by the incessant torment of care artd anxiery, which to the animal is unknown. This is the vulture gnawing at the liver of the shackled Prometheus. Epimetheus, who is afterwards created as a corollary, represents anxiery and worry ajier the event, the reward of frivolity and thoughtlessness. Plotinus (Enneads, iv, lib. 1, c. 14) gives us an entirely different interpretation of Prometheus, which is metaphysical yet full of meaning. Prometheus is the world-soul, makes man, and thus himself falls into bonds that only a Hercules can loosen, and so forth. Again, the enemies of the Church in our times would be pleased ·with the following interpretation. IlpofL1J8€v~ O€afLWT'IJ~ j J

['Prometheus in chains'.]



is the faculty of reason which is shackled by the gods (religion); only by the downfall of Zeus can it be liberated.

§ 200 The fable of Pandora has never been clear to me; in fact it has always seemed to me to be absurd and preposterous. I suspect that it was misunderstood and distorted even by Hesiod himself. As her name already implies, Pandora has in her box not all the evils, but all the blessings, of the world. When Epimetheus hastily opens it, all the blessings fly out, all except hope which is saved and left behind for us. In the end, I had the satisfaction of finding a couple of passages of the ancients which accord with this view of mine, namely an epigram in the anthology (Delectus epigrammatum graecorum, edited by Jacobs, c. 7, ep. 84), and a passage of Babrius quoted there which begins with the words: ZEvs Jv '1Tl0cp ·ret xfY'laTa mxVTa av.U€~as.• (Babrius, Fahulae, 58.1.)

§ 201 The particular epithet Aty6wvo,,s attributed by Hesiod to the Hesperides in two passages of his Theogony (11. 275 and 518), together with their name and their stay that was so long deferred after evening, has suggested to n1e the notion, certainly very strange, that bats might be meant by the name Hcsperides. Thus such an epithet answers very well to the short whistling tone of these animals.* Moreover, it would be more appropriate to call them EcnTEploEs6 than IIVKTEplo£s,7 as they fly about much more in the evening than at night, for they go out in search of insects, and EC!'1Teploes is the exact equivalent of the Latin vespertiliones.s I was, therefore, reluctant to suppress the idea, for it might be possible that, by having his attention drawn to it in this way, someone may still find something to confirm it. Indeed if the cherubim are winged oxen, why should the • Tpl{m•·TETplyam. ~eaTa 'ttEp ai VVKTEpto.o~. Herodotus, JV. 183. ['To squeak; they

squeak like bats!] • ['Zeus collecting in a vessel all the good things ... '1 5 ['Clear-voiced', 'screaming'.] 6 ['Daughters of the evening', 'Hesperides '.] 7 ['Daughters of the night', 'bats'.] 8 [.Bats'.]



Hesperides not be bats? Perhaps they are Alcithoe and her sisters who were changed into bats. (See Ovid's Metamorphoses, IV. 391 ff.)

§ 202 The nocturnal studies of scholars may be the reason why the owl is the bird of Athena.

§ 203 It is not without reason and sense that the myth represents Kronos as devouring and digesting stones; for it is time alone that digests the otherwise wholly indigestible, all grief, vexation, loss, and mortification. § 203a The overthrow of the Titans, whom Zeus thundered down into the underworld, seems to be the same story as that of the downfall of the angels who rebelled against Jehovah. The story ofidomeneus who sacrifices his son ex voto9 and that of Jephthah are essentially the same. {Typhon and Python are probably the same, since Horus and Apollo are the same, Herodotus, lib. u, c. 144.) Just as in Sanskrit there are to be found the roots of the Gothic and Greek languages, is there perhaps an older mythology whence both the Greek and Jewish mythologies have sprung? If we wanted to give free play to our wit, we might even mention that the doubly long night, when with Alcmene Zeus begat Hercules, arose from the fact that, farther east, Joshua commanded the sun to stand still before Jericho. Zeus and Jehovah played so much into each other's hands; for the gods of heaven, like those on earth, are at all times secretly on friendly terms. But how innocent was the amusement of Father Zeus in comparison with the bloodthirsty deeds of jehovah and his chosen predatory people!

§ 204 Thus in conclusion, I put my very subtle and exceedingly odd allegorical interpretation of a well-known myth that has been 9

['In consequence of a vow'.]



immortalized especially by Apuleius, although, on account of its subject-matter, such interpretation is open to the ridicule of all who wish to avail themselves of the expression du sublime au ridicule il ny a qu'unpas.xo From the culminating point of my philosophy, well known as the standpoint of asceticism, the affirmation of the will-to-live is seen to be concentrated in the act of procreation, which is its most decided expression. Now the significance of this affirmation is really that the will, originally without knowledge and hence a blind urge, does not in its willing and passion allow itself to be disturbed or restrained after knowledge of its own true nature has dawned on it through the world as representation. On the contrary, it now wills, consciously and deliberately, precisely what it hitherto willed as an urge and impulse devoid of knowledge. (See Ht'orld as Hlill and Representation, vol. i, §54.) Accordingly, we now find that the ascetic, who denies life through voluntary chastity, differs empirically from the one who, through the act of procreation, affirms life, in that, with the former, there occurs without knowledge and as a blind physiological function, namely in sleep, that which is consciously and deliberately performed by the latter and, therefore, is done with the light of knowledge. Now it is in fact very remarkable that this abstract philosopheme, which is in no way associated with the spirit of the Greeks, and the empirical circumstances illustrating it, have their exact allegorical description in the beautiful fable of Ps_yche who was to enjoy Amor only without seeing him, yet who, dissatisfied with this, positively wanted to see him, regardless of all warnings. In this way, after an inevitable pronouncement of mysterious forces, she came to endless misery which could be expiated only through her wandering into the underworld and there carrying out difficult and arduous tasks. o ['From the sublime to the ridiculous is but a step.'J



On the Metaphysics of the Beautiful and Aesthetics § 205 As I have dealt in sufficient detail in my chief work with the conception of the (Platonic) Ideas and with the correlative thereof, namely the pure subject of knowing, I should regard it as superfluous here to return to it once more, did I not bear in mind that this is a consideration which in this sense has never been undertaken prior to me. It is, therefore, better not to keep back anything which might at some time be welcome by way of their elucidation. In this connection, I naturally assume that the reader is acquainted with those earlier discussions. The real problem of the metaphysics of the beautiful may be very simply expressed by our asking how satisfaction with and pleasure in an object are possible without any reference thereof to our willing. Thus everyone feels that pleasure and satisfaction in a thing can really spring only from its relation to our will or, as we are fond of expressing it, to our aims, so that pleasure without a stirring of the will seems to be a contradiction. Yet the beautiful, as such, quite obviously gives rise to our delight and pleasure, without its having any reference to our personal aims and so to our will. My solution has been that in the beautiful we always perceive the essential and original forms of animate and inanimate nature and thus Plato's Ideas thereof, and that this perception has as its condition their essential correlative, the will-free subject of knowing, in other words a pure intelligence without aims and intentions. On the occurrence of an aesthetic apprehension, the will thereby vanishes entirely from consciousness. But it alone is the source of all our sorrows and sufferings. This is the origin of that satisfaction and pleasure which accompany the apprehension of the beautiful. It therefore rests on the removal of the entire possibility of suffering. If it should be objected that the



possibility of pleasure would then also be abolished, it should be remembered that, as I have often explained, happiness or satisfaction is of a negative nature, that is, simply the end of a suffering, whereas pain is that which is positive. And so with the disappearance of all willing from consciousness, there yet remains the state of pleasure, in other words absence of all pain and here even absence of the possibility thereo£ For the individual is transformed into a subject that merely knows and no longer wills; and yet he remains conscious of himself and of his activity precisely as such. As we know, the world as will is the first world (or dine prior), and the world as representation, the second (ordine posterior). The former is the world of craving and therefore of pain and a thousand different woes. The latter, however, is in itself essentially painless; moreover, it contains a spectacle worth seeing, altogether significant, and at least entertaining. Aesthetic pleasure* consists in the enjoyment thereof. To become a pure subject of knowing means to be quit of oneself; t but since in most cases people cannot do this, they are, as a rule, incapable of that purely objective apprehension of things, which constitutes the gift of the artist.

However, let the individual will leave free for a while the power of representation which is assigned to it, and let it exempt this entirely from the service for which it has arisen and exists so that, for the time being, such power relinquishes concern for the will or for one's own person, this being its only natural theme and thus its regular business, hut yet it does not cease to he energetically active and to apprehend clearly and with rapt attention what is intuitively perceptible. That power of representation then becomes at once perfectly objective, that is to say, the true mirror of objects or, more precisely, the medium of the objectification of the will that manifests itself in the objects in

* Complete

satisfaction, the final quieting, the true desirable state, always present themselves only in the picture, the work of art, the poem, or music. From this, of course, one might be assured that they must exist somewhere. t The pure subject of knowing occurs in our forgetting ourselves in order to be absorbed entirely in the intuitively perceived objects, so that they alone are left in consciOusness.



question. The inner nature of the will now stands out in the power of representation the more completely, the longer intuitive perception is kept up, until it has entirely exhausted that inner nature. Only thus does there arise with the pure subject the pure object, that is, the perfect manifestation of the will that appears in the intuitively perceived object, this manifestation being just the (Platonic) Idea thereof. But the apprehension of such an Idea requires that, while contemplating an object, I disregard its position in time and space and thus its individuality. For it is this position which is always determined by the law of causality and puts that object in some relation to me as an individual. Therefore only when that position is set aside does the object become the Idea and do I at the same time become the pure subject of knowing. Thus through the fact that every painting for ever fixes the fleeting moment and tears it from time, it already gives us not the individual thing, but the Idea, that which endures and is permanent in all change. Now for that required change in the subject and object, the condition is not only that the power of knowledge is withdrawn from its original servitude and left entirely to itself, but also that it nevertheless remains active with the whole of its energy, in spite of the fact that the natural spur of its activity, the impulse of the will, is now absent. Here lies the difficulty and in this the rarity of the thing; for all our thoughts and aspirations, all our seeing and hearing, are naturally always in the direct or indirect service of our countless greater and smaller personal aims. Accordingly it is the will that urges the power of knowledge to carry out its function and, \vithout such impulse, that power at once grows weary. Moreover, the knowledge thereby awakened is perfectly adequate for practical life, even for the special branches of science which are directed always only to the relations of things, not to the real and true inner nature thereof; and so all their knowledge proceeds on the guiding line of the principle of sufficient reason [or ground], this element of relations. Thus wherever it is a question of knowledge of cause and effect, or of other grounds and consequents, and hence in all branches of natural science and mathematics, as also of history, inventions, and so forth, the knowledge sought must be a purpose of the will, and the more eagerly this aspires to it, the sooner will it be attained. Similarly, in the affairs of state, war,



matters of finance or trade, intrigues of every kind, and so on, the will through the vehemence of its craving must first compel the intellect to exert all its strength in order to discover the exact clue to all the groundc; and consequents in the case in question. In fact, it is astonishing how far the spur of the will can here drive a given intellect beyond the usual degree of its powers. And so for all outstanding achievements in such things, not merely a fine or brilliant mind is required, but also an energetic will which must first urge the intellect to laborious effort and restless activity, without which such achievements cannot be effected. Now it is quite different as regards the apprehension of the objective original essence of things which constitutes their (Platonic) Idea and must be the basis of every achievement in the fine arts. Thus the will, which was there so necessary and indeed indispensable, must here be left wholly out of the question; for here only that is of any use which the intellect achieves entirely of itself and from its own resources and produces as a free-will offering. Here everything must go automatically; knowledge must be active without intention and so must be will-less. For only in the state of pure knowing, where a man's will and its aims together with his individuality are entirely removed from him, can that purely objective intuitive perception arise wherein the (Platonic) Ideas of things are apprehended. But it must always be such an apprehension which precedes the conception, i.e. the first and always intuitive knowledge. This subsequently constitutes the real material and kernel, as it were the soul, of a genuine work of art, a poem, and even a real philosophical argument. The unpremeditated, unintentional, and indeed partly unconscious and instinctive element that has at all times been observed in the works of genius, is just a consequence of the fact that the original artistic knowledge is one that is entirely separate from, and independent of, the will, a will-free, will-less knowledge. And just because the will is the man himself, we attribute such knowledge to a being different from him, to genius. A knowledge of this kind has not, as I have often explained, the principle of sufficient reason [or ground] for its guiding line and is thus the antithesis of a know ledge of the first kind. By virtue of his objectivity, the genius with reflectiveness perceives all that others do not see. This



gives him as a poet the ability to describe nature so clearly, palpably, and vividly, or as a painter, to portray it. On the other hand, with the execution of the work, where the purpose is to communicate and present what is knov.rn, the will can, and indeed must, again be active, just because there exists a purpose. Accordingly, the principle of sufficient reason [or ground] here rules once more, whereby the means of art are suitably directed to the ends thereof. Thus the painter is concerned with the correctness of his drawing and the treatment of his colours; the poet with the arrangement of his plan and then with expression and metre. But since the intellect has sprung from the will, it therefore presents itself objectively as brain and thus as a part of the body which is the objectification of the will. Accordingly, as the intellect is originally destined to serve the will, the activity natural to it is of the kind previously described, where it remains true to that natural form of its knowledge which is expressed by the principle of sufficient reason [or ground], and where it is brought into activity and maintained therein by the will, the primary and original element in man. Knowledge of the second kind, on the other hand, is an abnormal activity, unnatural to the intellect; accordingly, it is conditioned by a decidedly abnormal and thus very rare excess of intellect and of its objective phenomenon, the brain, over the rest of the organi~m and beyond the measure required by the aims of the will. Just because this excess of intellect is abnormal, the phenomena springing therefrom sometimes remind one of madness. Here knowledge then breaks with and deserts its origin, the will. The intellect which has arisen merely to serve the will and, in the case of almost all men, remains in such service, their lives being absorbed in such use and in the results thereof, is used abnormally, as it were abused, in all the free arts and sciences; and in this use are set the progress and honour of the human race. In another way, it can even turn itself against the will, in that it abolishes this in the phenomena of holiness. However, that purely objective apprehension of the world and of things which, as primary and original knowledge, underlies every artistic, poetical, and purely philosophical conception, is only a fleeting one, on subjective as well as objective grounds. For this is due in part to the fact that the requisite exertion and



attention cannot be maintained, and also to the fact that the course of the world does not allow us at all to remain in it as passive and indifferent spectators, like the philosopher according to the definition of Pythagoras. On the contrary, everyone must act in life's great puppet-play and almost always feels the wire which also connects him thereto and sets him in motion.

§ 207 Now as regards the objective element of such aesthetic intuitive perception, the (Platonic) Idea, this may be described as that which we should have before us if time, this formal and subjective condition of our knowledge, were withdrawn, like the glass from the kaleidoscope. For example, we see the development of the bud, blos!'om, and fruit and are astonished at the driving force that never wearies of again going through this cycle. Such astonishment would vanish if we could know that, in spite of all that change, we have before us the one and unalterable Idea of the plant. However, we are unable intuitively to perceive this Idea as a unity of bud, blossom, and fruit, but are obliged to know it by means of the form of time, whereby it is laid out for our intellect in those successive states.

§ 208 If \o\'e consider that both poetry and the plastic arts take as their particular theme an individual in order to present this with the greatest care and accuracy in all the peculiarities of its individual nature down to the most insignificant; and if we then review the sciences that work by means of concepts, each of which represents countless individuals by determining and describing, once for all, the characteristic of their whole species; then on such a consideration the pursuit of art might seem to us insignificant, trifling, and almost childish. But the essence of art is that its one case applies to thousands, since what it implies through that careful and detailed presentation of the individual is the revelation of the (Platonic) Idea of that individual's species. For example, an event, a scene from human life, accurately and fully described and thus with an exact presentation of the individuals concerned therein, gives us a clear and profound knowledge of the Idea of humanity itself, looked at from some point of view. For just as the botanist plucks a single flower from



the infinite wealth of the plant world and then dissects it in order to demonstrate the nature of the plant generally, so does the poet take from the endless maze and confusion of human life, incessantly hurrying everywhere, a single scene and often only a mood or feeling, in order then to show us what are the life and true nature of man. We therefore see that the greatest minds, Shakespeare and Goethe, Raphael and Rembrandt, do not regard it as beneath their dignity to present with the greatest accuracy, earnestness, and care an individual who is not even outstanding, and to give down to the smallest detail a graphic description of all his peculiarities. For only through intuitive perception is the particular and individual thing grasped; I have, therefore, defined poetry as the art of bringing the imagination into play by means of words. If we want to feel directly and thus become conscious of the advantage which knowledge through intuitive perception, as that which is primary and fundamental, has over abstract knowledge and thus see how art reveals more to us than any science can, let us contemplate, either in nature or through the medium of art, a beautiful and mobile human countenance full of expression. What a much deeper insight into the essence of man, indeed of nature generally, is given by this than by all the words and abstractions they express! Incidentally, it may be observed here that what, for a beautiful landscape is the sudden glimpse of the sun breaking through the clouds, is for a beautiful countenance the appearance of its laughter. Therefore, ridete,

puellae, ridete! 1 § 209 However, what enables a picture to bring us more easily than does something actual and real to the apprehension of a (Platonic) Idea and so that whereby the picture stands nearer to the Idea than does reality, is generally the fact that the work of art is the object which has already passed through a subject. Thus it is for the mind what animal nourishment, namely the vegetable already assimilated, is for the body. More closely considered, however, the case rests on the fact that the work of plastic art does not, like reality, show us that which exists only ['Laugh, girls, laugh!' (Presumably taken from Martial's Epigrammata, 41.}] 1




once and never again, thus the combination of this matter with this form, such combination constituting just the concrete and really particular thing, but that it shows us the form alone, which would be the Idea itself if only it \vere given completely and from every point of view. Consequently, the picture at once leads us away from the individual to the mere form. This separation of the form from matter already brings it so much nearer to the Idea. But every picture is such a separation, whether it be a painting or a statue. This severance, this separation, of the form from matter belongs, therefore, to the character of the aesthetic work of art, just because the purpose thereof is to bring us to the knowledge of a (Platonic) I dea. It is, therefore, essential to the work of art to give the form alone \·vithout matter, and indeed to do this openly and avowedly. Here is to be found the real reason why wax figures make no aesthetic impression and are, therefore, not works of art (in the aesthetic sense) ; although, if they are well made, they produce a hundred times more illusion than can the best picture or statue. If, therefore, deceptive imitation of the actual thing were the purpose of art, wax figures would necessarily occupy the front rank. Thus they appear to give not merely the form, but also the matter as well; and so they produce the illusion of our having before us the thing itself. Therefore, instead of having the true work of art that leads us away frmn what exists only once and never again, i.e. the individual, to what always exists an infinite number of times, in an infinite number of individuals, i.e. the mere form or Idea, \ve have the wax figure giving us apparently the individual himself and hence that which exists only once and never again, yet without that which lends value to such a fleeting existence, that is, without life. Therefore the wax figure causes us to shudder since its effect is like that of a stiff corpse. It might be imagined that it was only the statue that gave form without matter, whereas the painting gave matter as well, in so far as it imitated, by means of colour, matter, and its properties. This, however, would be equivalent to understanding form in the purely geometrical sense, which is not what was meant here. For in the philosophical sense, form is the opposite of matter and thus e1nbraces also colour, smoothness, texture, in short every quality. The statue is certainly the only



thing that gives the purely geometrical form alone, presenting it in marble, thus in a material that is clearly foreign to it; and so in this way, the statue plainly and obviously isolates the form. The painting, on the other hand, gives us no matter at all, but the mere appearance of the form, not in the geometrical but in the philosophical sense just stated. The painting does not even give this form, but the mere appearance thereof, namely its effect on only one sense, that of sight, and even this only from one point of view. Thus even the painting does not really produce the illusion of our having before us the thing itself, that is, form and matter; but even the deceptive truth of the picture is still always under certain admitted conditions of this method of presentation. For example, through the inevitable falling away of the parallax of our two eyes, the picture always shows us things only as a one-eyed person would see them. Therefore even the painting gives only the form since it presents merely the effect thereof and indeed quite one-sidedly, namely on the eye alone. The other reasons why the work of art raises us more readily than does reality to the apprehension of a (Platonic) Idea will be found in my chief , ..,ork volume ii, chapter 30. Akin to the foregoing consideration is the following where, however, the form must again be understood in the geometrical sense. Black and white copper engravings and etchings correspond to a nobler and more elevated taste than do coloured engravings and water colours, although the latter make a greater appeal to those of less cultivated taste. This is obviously due to the fact that black and white drawings give the form alone, in abstracto so to speak, whose apprehension is (as we know) intellectual, that is, the business of the intuitively perceiving understanding. Colour, on the other hand, is merely a matter of the sense-organ and in fact of quite a special adaptation therein (qualitative divisibility of the retina's activity). In this respect, we can also compare the coloured copper engravings to rhymed verses and black and white ones to the merely metrical. I have stated the relation between these in my chief work volume ii, chapter 37·

§ 210 The impressions we receive in our youth are so significant and in the dawn of life everything presents itself in such idealistic



and radiant colours. This springs from the fact that the individual thing still makes us first acquainted with its species, which to us is still new; and thus every particular thing represents for us its species. Accordingly, we apprehend in it the (Platonic) Idea of that species to which as such beauty is essential.

§ 21 I The word schon [meaning 'beautiful'] is undoubtedly connected with the English 'to show' and accordingly would mean 'showy', 'what shows well',z what looks well, and hence stands out clearly in intuitive perception; consequently the clear expression of significant (Platonic) Ideas. The word malerisch [meaning 'picturesque'] at bottom has the same meaning as schon [or 'beautiful']. For it is attributed to that which so presents itself that it clearly brings to light the (Platonic) Idea of its species. It is, therefore, suitable for the painter's presentation since he is concerned with presenting and bringing out the Ideas which constitute what is objective in the beautiful.

§ 212 Beauty and grace of the human fonn are in combination the clearest visibility of the will at the highest stage of its objectification and for this reason are the supreme achievement of plastic art. Yet every natural thing is certainly beautiful, as I have said in World as Will and Representation, volume i, § 41 ; and so too is every animal. If this is not obvious to us in the case of some animals, the reason is that we are not in a position to contemplate them purely objectively and thus to apprehend their Idea, but are drawn away therefrom by some unavoidable association of thoughts. In most cases, this is the result of a similarity that forces itself on us, for example, that between man and monkey. Thus we do not apprehend the Idea of this animal, but see only the caricature of a human being. The similarity between the toad and dirt and mud seems to act in just the same way. Nevertheless, this does not suffice here to explain the unbounded loathing and even dread and horror which some feel at the sight of these animals, just as do others at the sight of spiders. z [These three English phrases are Schopenhauer's own words.]



On the contrary, this seems to be grounded in a much deeper metaphysical and mysterious connection. In support of this opinion is the fact that these very animals are usually taken for sympathetic cures (and evil spells) and thus for magical purposes. For example, fever is driven away by a spider enclosed in a nutshell which is worn round the patient's neck until it is dead; or in the case of grave and mortal danger, a toad is laid in the urine of the patient, in a well-closed vessel, and is buried in the cellar of the house at midday, precisely at the stroke of twelve. Yet the slow torture to death of such animals demands an expiation from eternal justice. Now again this affords an explanation of the assumption that, whoever practises magic, makes a compact with the devil.

§ 213 In so far as inorganic nature does not consist of water, it has a very sad and even depressing effect on us when it manifests itself without anything organic. Instances of this are the districts that present us with merely bare rocks, particularly the long rocky valley without any vegetation, not far from Toulon, through which passes the road to Marseilles. The African desert is an instance on a large and much more impressive scale. The gloom of that impression of the inorganic springs primarily from the fact that the inorganic mass obeys exclusively the law of gravitation; and thus everything here tends in that direction. On the other hand, the sight of vegetation delights us directly and in a high degree, but naturally the more so, the richer, n1ore varied, more extended it is, and also the more it is left to itself. The primary reason for this is to be found in the fact that the law of gravitation seems in vegetation to be overcome since the plant world raises itself in a direction which is the very opposite to that of gravitation. The phenomenon of life thus immediately proclaims itself to be a new and higher order of things. We ourselves belong to this; it is akin to us and is the element of our existence; our hearts arc uplifted by it. And so it is primarily that vertical direction upwards whereby the sight of the plant world directly delights us. Therefore a fine group of trees gains immensely if a couple of long, straight, and pointed fir trees rise fron1 its middle. On the other hand, a tree lopped all round no longer affects us; indeed a leaning tree has



less effect than has one that has grown perfectly straight. The branches of the weeping willow (saule pleureur) which hang down and thus yield to gravity have given it this name. Water eliminates the sad and depressing effect of its inorganic nature to a large extent through its great mobility which gives it an appearance of life and through its constant play with light; moreover, it is the primary and fundamental condition of all life. Again, what makes the sight of vegetable nature so delightful is the expression of peace, calm, and satisfaction which it has; whereas animal nature often presents itself in a state of unrest, want, misery, and even conflict. Therefore vegetable nature so readily succeeds in putting us into a state of pure knowing which delivers us from ourselves. It is remarkable to see how vegetable nature, even the most ordinary and insignificant, at once displays itself in beautiful and picturesque groups, the moment it is withdrawn from the influence of human caprice. We see this in every spot which has escaped or has not yet been reached by cultivation, even though it bears only thistles, thorns, and the commonest wild flowers. In cornfields and market-gardens, on the other hand, the aesthetic element of the plant world sinks to a minimum.

§ 214 It has long been recognized that every work intended for human purposes and thus every utensil and building must have a certain resemblance to the works of nature in order to be beautiful. But here we are mistaken in supposing that such resemblance must be direct and lie immediately in the forms, so that, for instance, columns should represent trees or even human limbs, vessels should be shaped like shellfish, snails, or the calices of flowers, and vegetable or animal forms should appear everyw·here. On the contrary, this resemblance should not be direct, but only indirect; in other words, it should reside not in the forms, but in the character thereof which can be the same, in spite of their complete difference. Accordingly, buildings and utensils should not imitate nature, but be created in her spirit. Now this shows itself when each thing and each part answers its purpose so directly that such is at once proclaimed by it. All this happens when the purpose is attained on the shortest path and in the simplest way. This obvious appro-



priateness or fitness is thus the characteristic of the product of nature. Now in this, of course, the will works outwards from within and has made itself the complete master of matter; whereas in the human work, acting from without, the will attains its end and first expresses itself through the medium of intuitive perception and even of a conception of the purpose of the thing, but then by overcoming and subduing a matter that is foreign, in other words, originally expresses another will. Nevertheless, in this case the above-mentioned characteristic of the product of nature can still be retained. Ancient architecture shows this in the exact suitability of each part or member to its immediate purpose which it thus naively displays. It shows it also in the absence of everything useless and purposeless, in contrast to Gothic architecture which owes its dark and mysterious appearance precisely to the many pointless etnbellishments and appendages, in that we attribute to these a purpose which to us is unknown. The same may be said of every degenerate style of architecture which affects originality and which, in all kinds of unnecessary devious ways and in arbitrary frivolities, toys with the n1eans of art without understanding their purpose. The same applies to antique vases whose beauty springs from the fact that they express in so naive a way what they are intended to be and do; and it applies also to all the other utensils of the ancients. Here we feel that, if nature were to produce vases, amphorae, lamps, tables, chairs, helmets, shields, armour, and so on, they would look like that. On the other hand, look at the scandalous, richly gilded, porcelain vessels, women's apparel, and other things of the present day. By exchanging the style of antiquity, already introduced, for the vile rococo, men have given evidence of their contemptible spirit and have branded their brows for all time. For this is indeed no trifling matter, but stamps the spirit of these times. A proof of this is furnished by their literature and the mutilation of the German language through ignorant ink-slingers who, in their arbitrary arrogance, treat it as do vandals works of art, and who are allowed to do so with impunity.

§ 215 The origin of the fundamental idea for a work of art has been very appropriately called its corueption; for it is the most essential



thing just as is procreation to the origin of man; and like this it requires not exactly time, but rather mood and opportunity. Thus the object in general, as that which is the male, practises a constant act of procreation on the subject, as that which is the female. Yet this act becon1es fruitful only at odd happy moments and with favoured subjects; but then there arises from it some new and original idea which, therefore, lives on. And as with physical procreation, fruitfulness depends much more on the female than on the male; if the former (the subject) is in the mood suitable for conceiving, almost every object now falling within its apperception will begin to speak to it, in other words, to create in it a vivid, penetrating, and original idea. Thus the sight of a trifling object or event has sometimes become the seed of a great and beautiful work; for instance, by suddenly looking at a tin vessel, Jacob Boehme was put into a state of illumination and introduced into the innermost depths of nature. Yet ultimately everything turns on our own strength; and just as no food or medicine can impart or replace vital force, so no book or study can furnish an individual and original mind.

§ 216 An improviser, however, is a man who omnibus horis sapit,J since he carries round a complete and well-assorted store of commonplaces of all kinds; thus he promises prompt service for every request according to the circumstances of the case and the occasion and provides ducenti versus, stans pede in uno.4

§ 217 A man who undertakes to live on the favour of the Muses, I mean on his gifts as a poet, seems to me to be somewhat like a girl who lives by her charms. For base profit and gain both profane what should be the free gift of their innermost nature. Both suffer from exhaustion, and in most cases both will end ignominiously. And so do not degrade your muse to a whore, but 'I sing, as sings the bird Who in the branches lives. ['Who knows something at any hour' (Cf. § 36, footnote 8).] 4 ['Two hundred verses (Lucilius dictated often when on the point of going away and thus) standing on one foot! (Horace, Satires, r. 4.10.)] 3



The song that from his throat is heard, Is reward that richly gives' ,s

should be the poet's motto. For poetic gifts belong to the holidays, not to the work-days of life. If, then, they should feel somewhat cramped and checked by an occupation which the poet carries on at the same time, they may yet succeed. For the poet does not need to acquire great knowledge and learning, as is the case with the philosopher; in fact poetic gifts are in this way condensed, just as they are diluted by too much leisure and through being exercised ex professo. 6 The philosopher, on the other hand, for the reason stated, cannot very well carry on another occupation at the same time, for to make money with philosophy has other serious and well-known drawbacks. For this reason the ancients n1ade it the mark of the sophist in contrast to the philosopher. Solomon too should be commended when he says: '\.Visdom is good with an inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the sun' (Ecclesiastes 7: II). \.Ve have the classics of antiquity, that is to say, minds whose writings pass through thousands of years in the undiminished lustre and brilliance of youth; and this is due for the most part to the fact that with the ancients the writing of books was not a trade or profession. Only in this way is it possible to explain why the superior works of those classical authors are not accompanied by any that are inferior. For, unlike even the best of modern authors, they did not, after the spirit had evaporated, still bring to market the residue in order to make some money from it.

Music is the true universal language which is everywhere understood; and so it is constantly spoken in all countries and throughout the centuries most eagerly and earnestly, and a significant and suggestive melody very soon finds its way round the globe. On the other hand, a melody that is poor and says nothing soon dies away and is forgotten; which shows that the contents of a melody are very easy to understand. Nevertheless, s [Goethe's poem Der Sanger.] 6 ('Professionally'.]



it speaks not of things, but simply of weal and woe as being for the will the sole realities. It therefore says so much to the heart, whereas to the head it has nothing direct to say; and it is an improper use if this is required of it, as happens in all descriptive music. Such music should, therefore, be rejected once for all, even though Haydn and Beethoven have been misguided into using it. Mozart and Rossini have, to my knowledge, never done this. For to express passions is one thing and to paint objects another. Even the grammar of this universal language has been given the most precise rules, although only since Rameau laid the foundation for it. On the other hand, to explain the lexicon, I mean the undoubted importance of the contents of this grammar in accordance with the foregoing, in other words, to make intelligible to our reason, if only in a general way, what it is that music says in melody and harmony and what it is talking about, this was never even seriously attempted until I undertook to do it; which only shows, as do so many other things, how little inclined men are generally to reflect and think and how thoughtlessly they live their lives. Their intention everywhere is merely to enjoy themselves, and indeed with the least possible expenditure of thought. Such is their nature. It therefore seems to be so ludicrous when they imagine they have to play at being philosophers, as may be seen in our professors of philosophy, their precious works, and the sincerity of their zeal for philosophy and truth.

Speaking generally and at the same time popularly, we may venture to state that on the whole music is the melody to which the world is the text. But we obtain the proper meaning thereof only through my interpretation of music. But the relation of the art of music to the definite exterior that is always imposed on it, such as text, action, march, dance, sacred or secular festival, and so on, is analogous to that of architecture as a fine art, in other words, as art intended for purely aesthetic purposes, to the actual buildings which it has to erect and with whose utilitarian purposes it must, therefore, try to connect the aims that are peculiar to it, such purposes



being foreign to architecture itself as an art. For it achieves its aims under the conditions imposed by those utilitarian purposes and accordingly produces a temple, palace, arsenal, playhouse, and so on, in such a way that the building in itself is beautiful as well as suitable for its purpose and even proclaims this through its aesthetic character. Music, therefore, stands to the text, or to the other realities imposed on it, in an analogous subjection, although this is not so unavoidable. It must first of all adapt itself to the text, although it certainly does not require this and in fact without it moves much more freely. However, music must not only adapt every note to the length and meaning of the words of the text, but must also assume throughout a certain homogeneity with the text and likewise bear the character of the other arbitrary aims imposed on it and accordingly be church, opera, military, dance, or other music. But all this is just as foreign to the nature of music as are human utilitarian purposes to purely aesthetic architecture. Therefore both music and architecture have to adapt themselves to such utilitarian purposes and to subordinate their own aims to those that are foreign to them. For architecture this is almost always unavoidable, but not for music which freely moves in the concerto, the sonata, and above all the symphony, its finest scene of action wherein it celebrates its saturnalia. Further, the wrong path, on which our music happens to be, is analogous to that taken by Roman architecture under the later emperors, where the overloading with decorations and embellishments partly concealed, and to some extent perverted, the simple and essential proportions. Thus our music gives us much noise, many instruments, much art, but very few clear, penetrating, and touching ideas. Moreover, in the shallow compositions of today which are devoid of meaning and melody, we again find the same taste of the times which puts up with an obscure, indefinite, nebulous, unintelligible, and even senseless way of writing. The origin of this is to be found mainly in our miserable Hegelry and its charlatanism. Give me Rossini's music that speaks without words! In present-day compositions more account is taken of harmony than of melody. Yet I hold the opposite view and regard melody as the core of music to which harmony is related as the sauce to roast meat.



§ 220 Grand opera is really not a product of the pure artistic sense, but rather of the somewhat barbaric notion of the enhancement of aesthetic pleasure by the accumulation of the means, the simultaneous use of totally different impressions, and the intensification of the effect through an increase of the operative masses and forces. Music, on the other hand, as the most powerful of all the arts, is by itself alone capable of completely occupying the mind that is susceptible to it. Indeed, to be properly interpreted and enjoyed, the highest productions of music demand the wholly undivided and undistracted attention of the mind so that it may surrender itself to, and become absorbed in, them in order thoroughly to understand its incredibly profound and intimate language. Instead of this, the mind during a piece of highly complicated opera music is at the same time acted on through the eye by means of the most variegated display and magnificence, the most fantastic pictures and images, and the most vivid impressions of light and colour; moreover, it is occupied with the plot of the piece. Through all this it is diverted, distracted, deadened, and thus rendered as little susceptible as possible to the sacred, mysterious, and profound language of tones; and so such things are directly opposed to an attainment of the musical purpose. In addition to all this, we have the ballet, a performance which is often directed more to lasciviousness than to aesthetic pleasure. Moreover, through the narrow range of its means and the monotony arising therefrom, the spectacle soon becomes extremely tedious and so tends to exhaust one's patience. In particular, through the wearisome repetition, often lasting a quarter of an hour, of the same second-rate dance melody, the musical sense is wearied and blunted so that it is no longer left with any susceptibility for subsequent musical impressions of a more serious and exalted nature. It is possible that, although a thoroughly musical mind does not desire it, notwithstanding that the pure language of tones is self-sufficient and needs no assistance, it may be associated with and adapted to words, or even to an action produced through intuitive perception so that our intui~vely perceiving and reflecting intellect, which does not like to be completely idle, may yet obtain an easy and analogous occupation. In this way,



even the attention is more firmly fixed on the music and follows it; at the same time, a picture or image of intuitive perception, a model or diagram so to speak, like an example to a universal concept, is adapted to what the tones say in their universal language of the heart, a language that is without picture or image; indeed such things will enhance the impression of the music. It should nevertheless be kept within the limits of the greatest simplicity, as otherwise it acts directly against the principal musical purpose. The great accumulation of vocal and instrumental parts in the opera certainly acts in a musical way; yet the enhancement of the effect, from the mere quartet up to those orchestras with their hundred instruments, bears no relation at all to the increase in the means. For the chord cannot have more than three, or in one case four, notes and the mind can never apprehend more at the same time, no matter by how many parts of the most different octaves those three or four notes may all at once be given. From all this we can explain how a fine piece of music, played on)y in four parts, may sometimes move us more deeply than does the whole opera seria7 whose quintessence is furnished by it;just as a drawing sometimes has more effect than has an oi) painting. However, what mainly depresses the effect of the quartet is that it lacks the extent of the harmony, in other words the distance of two or more octaves between the bass and the lowest of the three upper parts, just as from the depths of the double bass this extent is at the disposal of the orchestra. But for this reason, the effect of the orchestra is immensely enhanced if a large organ, reaching down to the limit of audibility, constantly plays the ground-bass to it, as is done in the Catholic church in Dresden. For only thus docs the harmony produce its full effect. But generally speaking, simplicity which usually attaches to truth, is a law that is essential to all art, all that is beautiful, all intellectual presentation or description; at any rate to depart from it is always dangerous. Strictly speaking, therefore, we could call the opera an unmusical invention for the benefit of unmusical minds into which music must first be smuggled through a medium that is foreign to it, possibly as the accompaniment to a long, spun-out, vapid 7

['Serious opera in the grand style' ]





love-story and its wishy-washy poetry. For the text of the opera cannot possibly endure a poetry that is condensed and full of spirit and ideas, because the composition is unable to keep up with this. But to try to make music entirely the slave of bad poetry is the wrong way which is taken especially by Gluck whose opera music, apart from the overtures, is, therefore, not enjoyable at all without the words. Indeed it can be said that opera has become the ruin of music. For not only must the music bend and submit in order to suit the development and irregular course of events of an absurd and insipid plot; not only is the mind diverted and distracted from the music by the childish and barbaric pomp of the scenery and costumes, the antics of the dancers, and the short skirts of the ballet-girls; no, but even the singing itself often disturbs the harmony, in so far as the vox humana, which musically speaking is an instrument like any other, will not co-ordinate and fit in with the other parts, but tries to dominate absolutely. This is, of course, all right where it is soprano or alto, because in this capacity the melody belongs essentially and naturally to it. But in the bass and tenor arias the leading melody in most cases devolves on the high instruments; and then the singing stands out like an arrogant and conceited voice, in itself merely harmonic, which the melody tries to drown. Or else the accompaniment is transferred contrapuntally to the upper octaves, entirely contrary to the nature of the music, in order to impart the melody to the tenor and bass voices; yet the ear always follows the highest notes and thus the accompaniment. I am really of the opinion that solo arias with orchestral accompaniment are suitable only for the alto or soprano and that male voices should, therefore, be employed only in the duet with these or in pieces of many parts, unless they sing without any accompaniment or with a mere bass accompaniment. Melody is the natural prerogative of the highest voices and instruments and must remain so. Therefore when in the opera a soprano aria comes after a forced and artificial baritone or bass aria, we at once feel with satisfaction that the former alone accords with nature and art. The fact that great masters like Mozart and Rossini are able to mitigate and even to overcome that drawback does not dispose of it. A much purer musical pleasure than that afforded by the opera is that of the sung mass. Its words which in most cases are



not distinctly heard, or its endlessly repeated alleluias, glorias, eleisons, amens, and so on, become a mere solfeggio in which the music, preserving only the general ecclesiastical character, moves freely and is not, as in the case of operatic singing, impaired in its own sphere by miseries of every kind. Here unchecked it therefore develops all its forces since, unlike Protestant morality, it does not always grovel on the ground with the oppressive puritan or methodist character of Protestant church music, but like a seraph soars freely with its great pinions. The mass and symphony alone give pure and unalloyed musical pleasure, whereas in the opera the music is tortured by the shallow drama and its pseudo-poetry and tries to get on as best it can with the foreign burden that has been imposed on it. Although not exactly commendable, the sneering contempt with which the great Rossini has sometimes treated the text is at any rate genuinely musical. But speaking generally, since grand opera, by lasting three hours, continues to blunt our musical susceptibility, whilst the snail's pace of an often very insipid action puts our patience to the test, it is in itself essentially of a wearisome and tedious nature. This defect can be overcome only by the extraordinary excellence of the particular performance; and so in this class only masterpieces can be enjoyed and everything mediocre is to be condemned. The attempt should be made to concentrate and contract opera in order to limit it, if possible, to one act and one hour. Fully aware of this, the authorities at the Teatro della Vaile in Rome when I was there hit upon the bad expedient of arranging alternately the acts of an opera and a comedy. The maximum duration of an opera should be two hours, that of a drama, on the other hand, three because the requisite attention and mental exertion hold out longer, since it wearies us much less than does the incessant music, which in the end becomes nerve-racking. The last act of an opera is therefore, as a rule, a torment to the audience and an even greater one to the singers and musicians. Accordingly, we might imagine that here we are looking at a large audience who are assembled for the purpose of self-torture, and who pursue it to the end with patience and endurance, an end for which all have long since secretly sighed, with the exception of the deserters. ,~ The overture should prepare us for the opera by announcing



the character of the music and the course of the events. Yet this should not be done too explicitly and distinctly, but only in the way in which we foresee coming events in a dream.

§ 221 A vaudeville is comparable to one who parades in clothes he has picked up in a second-hand shop. Every article has already been worn by someone else for whom it was made and whom it fitted; moreover, we see that the different articles do not belong to one another. It is analogous to a harlequin's jacket that has been patched together out of the rags and tatters that are cut from the coats of respectable people. It is a positive musical abomination that should be forbidden by the police.

§ 222 It is worth noting that in music the value of the composition outweighs that of the performance, whereas in drama the very opposite applies. Thus an admirable composition, only moderately yet clearly and correctly played, gives much more pleasure than does the most excellent performance of a bad composition. On the other hand, a bad theatrical piece, performed by outstanding actors, has much more effect than does the most admirable piece that is played by mere amateurs. The task of an actor is to portray human nature in all its most varied aspects, in a thousand extremely different characters, yet all these on the common basis of his individuality which is given once for all and can never be entirely effaced. Now for this reason, he himself must be a capable and complete specimen of human nature, and least of all one so defective or dwarfed that, according to Hamlet's expression, he seems to be made not by nature herself, but 'by some of her journeymen'. Nevertheless, an actor will the better portray each character, the nearer it stands to his own individuality; and he will play best of all that character which corresponds to this. And so even the worst actor has a role that he can play admirably, for he is then like a living face among masks. To be a good actor, it is necessary for a man ( 1) to have the gift of being able to turn himself inside out and to show his inner nature; (2) to have sufficient imagination in order to



picture fictitious circumstances and events so vividly that they stir his inner nature; and (3) to have enough intelligence, experience, and culture to enable him to have a proper understanding of human characters and relations.

'Man's struggle with fate', which our dull, hollow, puffed-up, and sickly-sweet modern aesthetes have for about fifty years unanimously stated to be the universal theme of tragedy, has for its assumption the freedom of the will, that folly of all the ignorant, and also the categorical imperative whose moral purposes or comn1ands, in spite of fate, are now to be carried out. In all this, the aforesaid gentlemen then find their edification. But that pretended theme of the tragedy is a ridiculous notion just because it would be the struggle with an invisible opponent, a tilter or jouster in a magic hood of mist, against whom every blow would, therefore, hit the air and into whose arms we should be cast in trying to avoid him, as happened to Laius and Oedipus. Moreover, fate is all-powerful; and thus to fight it would be the most ludicrous of all presumptions, so that Byron is perfectly right in saying: 'To strive, too, with our fate were such a strife As if the corn-sheaf should oppose the sickle.' Don]uan, v. 17.

Shakespeare also understood the matter thus: 'Fate, show thy force: ourselves we do not owe; What is decreed must be, and be this so! ' Twelfth Night, Act 1, the close.

Incidentally, this verse is one of those exceedingly rare ones that gain in translation: ']etzt kannst du deine Macht, o Schicksal zeigen: Was sein soil muss geschehn, und Keiner ist sein eigen.'

With the ancients the concept of fate is that of a necessity which is hidden in the totality of things. Without any consideration either for our wishes and prayers or guilt and merit, this necessity guides human affairs and draws together on its secret



bond even those things that are outwardly most independent of one another, in order to bring them whither it will so that their obviously fortuitous coincidence is in a higher sense necessary. Now just as, by virtue of this necessity, everything is preordained (fatum), so too is a previous knou!/edge of it possible through oracles, seers, dreams, and so on. Providence is Christianized fate and thus fate transformed into the purpose of a God which is directed to the greatest good of the world.

§ 224 I regard as the aesthetic purpose of the chorus in the tragedy firstly that, along with the view of things which the chief characters have who are stirred by the storm of passions, that of calm and disinterested deliberation should be mentioned; and secondly, that the essential moral of the piece, which is successively disclosed in concreto by the action thereof, may at the same time also be expressed as a reflection on this in abstracto and consequently in brief. Acting in this way, the chorus is like the bass in music which, as a constant accompaniment, enables one to perceive the fundamental note of each single chord of the • progression.

§ 225 Just as the strata of the earth show us in their impressions the forms of living creatures from a world of the remotest past, impressions that preserve throughout countless thousands of years the trace of a brief existence, so in their comedies have the ancients left us a faithful and lasting impression of their gay life and activity. The impression is so clear and accurate that it seems as if -they had done this with the object of bequeathing to the remotest posterity at least a lasting picture of a fine and noble existence whose transitory and fleeting nature they regretted. Now if we again fill with flesh and blood these frames and forms which have been handed down to us, by presenting Plautus and Terence on the stage, then that brisk and active life of the remote past again appears fresh and bright before us, just as ancient mosaic floors, when wetted, stand out once more in the brilliance of their old colours.



§ 226 The only genuine German comedy, coming from and portraying the true nature and spirit of the nation, is, with the exception of Minna von Barnhelm, IfHand's play. The merits and qualities of these pieces, like those of the nation they faithfully portray, are more moral than intellectual, whereas the very opposite could be stated of French and English comedies. The Germans are so rarely original that, when once they prove to be, we should not pitch into them, as did Schiller and the Schlegels who were unjust to Iffiand and even against Kotzebue went too far. In the same way, men are to-day unjust to Raupach, whereas they show their approbation for the farces of wretched bunglers.

§ 227 The drama generally, as the most perfect mirror of human existence, has a threefold climax in its way of interpreting this and consequently in its purpose and pretension. At the first and most frequent stage, it stops at what is merely interesting; the characters call for our sympathy in the pursuit of their own aims that are similar to ours. The action proceeds through the intrigue, the characters, and chance; and wit and the jest are the spice of the whole. At the second stage, the drama becomes sentimental; sympathy is excited for the heroes and indirectly for ourselves. The action becomes pathetic and yet at the end it returns to peace and contentment. At the highest and most difficult stage, the tragic is contemplated. The severe suffering and misery of existence are brought home to us and here the vanity of all human effort is the final conclusion. We are profoundly shaken and, either directly or as an accompanying harmonic note, there is stirred in us a turning away of the will from life. Naturally I have not taken into consideration the drama of political tendency which flirts with the momentary whims of the flattering and sugary populace, that favourite product of our present-day writers. Such pieces soon lie as dead as old calendars, often in the following year. Yet this does not worry those writers, for the appeal to their 11use contains only one prayer: 'Give us this day our daily bread'.



§ 228 All beginning, it is said, is difficult; in the art of drama, however, the opposite applies and all ending is difficult. This is proved by the innumerable dramas which promise well in the first half, but then become obscure, halting, uncertain, especially in the notorious fourth act, and finally peter out in a forced or unsatisfactory ending, or in one that was long foreseen by everyone, or sometimes, as in Emilia Gaiotti, in one that is revolting and sends the audience home in a thoroughly bad mood. This difficulty of the ending is due in part to the fact that it is always easier to entangle affairs than to unravel them; but also to some extent to the fact that at the beginning we give the poet carte blanche, whereas at the end we make definite demands. Thus it is to be either perfectly happy or wholly tragic, whereas human affairs do not readily take so decided a turn. Then again it must work out naturally, correctly, and in an unforced manner; and yet this must not be foreseen by anyone. The same applies to the epic and the romance; in the drama only its more compact nature makes it more apparent in that this increases the difficulty. The e nihilo nihil fitS applies also to the fine arts. For their historical pictures good painters have as their models real human beings and take for their heads actual faces drawn from life which they then idealize either as regards their beauty or their character. Good novelists, I believe, do the same thing; they base their characters on actual human beings of their acquaintance who serve as their models and whom they now idealize and complete in accordance with their own intentions. The task of the novelist is not to narrate great events, but to make interesting those that are trifling. A novel will be of a loftier and nobler nature, the more of inner and the less of outer life it portrays; and this relation will, as a characteristic sign, accompany all gradations of the novel from Tristram Sliandy down to the crudest and most eventful knight or robber romance. Tristram ShaTldy has, in fact, practically no action at all; but how little there is in La Nouvelle Heloise and ~Vilhelm Meister! Even Don Quixote has relatively little; it is very insignificant and tends to be comical; and these four novels are at the top of their class. Consider further the wonderful novels 8

('Nothing comes from nothing.' (Cf. Lucretius,





of jean Paul and see how much inner life they set in motion on the narrowest foundation of the outer. Even the novels of Sir Walter Scott have a considerable preponderance of inner over outer life and indeed the latter always appears only for the purpose of setting the former in motion; whereas in inferior novels it is there for its own sake. Art consists in our bringing the inner life into the most intense action with the least possible expenditure of the outer; for the inner is really the object of our interest.

§ 229 I frankly admit that the great reputation of the Divina Commedia seems to me to be exaggerated. The extravagant absurdity of the fundamental idea is largely responsible for this, and as a result the most repulsive aspect of Christian mythology is in the Inferno at once brought vividly to our notice. Then again the obscurity of the style and allusions also contributes its share: Omnia enim stolidi magis admirarltur, amantque, lnversis quae sub verbis latitantia cernunt.9

Nevertheless, the brevity of style, often bordering on the laconic, the energy of expression, but even more the incomparable power of Dante's imagination, are certainly very remarkable. By virtue thereof he imparts to the description of impossible things a palpable truth that is consequently akin to that of a dream. For as he cannot have had any experience of such things, it seems that he must have dreamt them in order to be able to paint them in such vivid, exact, and distinct colours. On the other hand, what are we to say when, at the end of the eleventh canto of the Inferno, Virgil describes the breaking of the day and the setting of the stars, but forgets that he is in hell and under the earth and that only at the end of this main part will he quindi uscire a riveder le stelle? 10 The same blunder is found once more at the end of the twentieth canto. Are we to assume that Virgil carries a watch and therefore knows what at the moment is going on in heaven? To me this seems to be a worse ['Fools admire and like to excess all that is said to them in flowery language and in queer and puzzling words.' (Lucretius, I. 641-2.)] 10 ['Come out from there to see the stars again.' (Dante, Inferno, can. XXIV last line.)] 9



case of forgetfulness than the well-known one concerning Sancho Panza's ass, of which Cervantes was guilty. The title of Dante's work is very original and striking and there is little doubt that it is ironical. A comedy indeed~ Truly the world would be such, a comedy for a God whose insatiable lust for revenge and studied cruelty in the last act gloated over the endless and purposeless torture of the beings whom he uselessly and frivolously called into existence, namely because they had not turned out in accordance with his intention and in their short life had done or believed otherwise than to his liking. Moreover, compared with his unexampled cruelty, all the crimes so severely punished in the Inferno would not be worth talking about. Indeed, he himself would be far worse than all the devils we encounter in the Inferno; for naturally these are acting only on his instructions and by virtue of his authority. And so Father Zeus will hardly be grateful for the honour of being summarily identified with him, as is done strangely enough in several passages (e.g. can. XIV, 1. 70 ;-can. XXXI, l. 92). In fact, the thing is carried to absurdity in the Purgatorio, can. VI, l. 118: o sommo Giove, Che fosti in terra per noi crocifisso. u What on earth would Zeus say to this? "Q 1rmrot! 12 The Russian servile nature of the submissiveness ofVirgil, Dante, and everyone to his comn1ands and the trembling obedience with which his ukazes are everywhere received are positively revolting. Now this slavish mentality is carried by Dante himself in his own person to such lengths (can. XXXIII, 11. I og-so) that he is guilty of a total lack of honour and conscience in a case that he himself relates with pride. Thus for him honour and conscience no longer mean anything, the moment they interfere in any way with the cruel decrees of Domeneddio. And so for obtaining a statement, there is the promise he firmly and solemnly gave to pour a tiny drop of relief into the pain of one of those deliberately planned and cruelly executed tortures; after the tortured victim fulfilled the condition imposed on him, the promise was shamelessly and boldly broken by Dante in a manner devoid of honour and conscience, in majorem Dei gloriam.u This he does because he considers it absolutely inadmissible to ease in the 11

u IJ

['Exalted Jupiter, who for us were crucified on earth'.] ('Alas!'] ['To the greater glory of God'.]



slightest degree a pain that is imposed by God, even though here it meant only the wiping away of a frozen tear, an act that he was not expressly forbidden to do. He therefore refrains from doing it, however solemnly he had vowed and promised to do so the moment before. In heaven such things may be customary and praiseworthy, I do not know; but whoever behaves in this way on earth is called a scoundrel. Incidentally, it is clear from this how difficult it is for every morality that has no other basis than the will of God; for then good can become bad and bad good as rapidly as are the poles of an electro-magnet reversed. The whole of Dante's Inferno is really an apotheosis of cruelty and here in the last canto but one lack of honour and conscience is glorified in the aforesaid manner. '\Vhatever's true in every place I speak with bold and fearless face.' Goethe. Moreover, for the created the thing would be a divina tragedia, and indeed without end. Even though the prelude preceding it may prove to be pleasant and amusing in places, this is nevertheless infinitesimally small in comparison with the endless duration of the tragic part. One cannot help thinking that Dante had at the back of his mind a secret satire on this pretty world order, otherwise it would need a quite peculiar taste to delight in painting revolting absurdities and never-ending scenes of execution. For me my beloved Petrarch comes before all the other Italian poets. In depth and intensity of feeling and in the direct expression thereof which goes straight to the heart, no poet on earth has ever surpassed him. His sonnets, triumphs, and canzones are, therefore, incomparably dearer to me than are the fantastic farces of Ariosto and the hideous caricatures of Dante. The natural flow of his language, coming straight from the heart, speaks to me in a manner quite different from that of Dante's studied and even affected paucity of words. Petrarch has always been and will remain the poet of my heart. That our super-excellent 'Jetz.tzeit' 14 ventures to speak disparagingly of him merely confirms me in my opinion. As a superfluous proof •• ['Present-day' (A cacophonous word here ~d ironically by Schopenhauer).]



of this, we may also compare Dante and Petrarch in domestic attire so to speak, that is to say in their prose, by placing Petrarch's beautiful books, De vita solitaria, De contemtu mundi, Con.solatio utriusque fortunae, and so on, so rich in ideas and truth, and also his letters next to Dante's barren and tedious scholasticism. Finally, Tasso does not seem to me to be worthy of taking the fourth place beside the three great poets of Italy. Let us as posterity try to be just, even though as contemporaries we cannot be.

§ 230 With Homer things always receive those predicates that belong to them generally and absolutely, not those that are related or analogous to what is just taking place. For example, the Achaeans are always called the well-shod, the earth always the nourisher of life, heaven the wide, the sea wine-dark. This is the characteristic of that objectiviry which in Homer is so uniquely expressed. Like nature herself, he leaves the objects untouched by human events and moods. Whether his heroes rejoice or mourn, nature pursues her course unconcerned. On the other hand, when subjective men are -sad, the whole of nature seems to them to be sombre and gloomy, and so on. Not so with Homer. Of the poets of our time, Goethe is the most objective, Byron the most subjective. The latter always speaks only of himself and even in the most objective kinds of poetry, such as the drama and epic, he describes himself in the hero. Goethe, however, is related to Jean Paul as the positive pole to the negative.

§ 231 Goethe's Egmont is a person who takes life easily and who must atone for this error. But by way of compensation, the same attitude of mind also enables him to take death easily. The folk-scenes in Egmont are the chorus.

§ 232 At the Academy of Arts in V enicc, there is among the frescoes painted on canvas a picture which actually shows the gods enthroned on clouds at golden tables and on golden seats, and underneath are the guests who, insulted and disgraced, are



hurled into the depths of night. It is quite certain that Goethe saw this picture when he wrote Iphigenia on his first Italian • JOUrney.

§ 232a The story in Apuleius, of the widow with a vision of her husband who had been murdered at the chase, is wholly analogous to that of Hamlet. Here I would like to insert a conjecture concerning Shakespeare's masterpiece. It is, of course, very bold, yet I would like to submit it to the judgement of those who really know. In the famous monologue: 'To be or not to be', we have the words: 'when we have shuffled off this mortal coil', which have always been considered obscure and even puzzling, and yet have never been thoroughly explained. Should there not have been originally 'shuttled off'? This verb itself no longer exists, but 'shuttle' is an implement used in weaving. Accordingly, the meaning might be: 'when we have unwound and worked off this coil of mortality'. A slip of the pen could easily occur. 1s

§ 233 History, which I always like to think of along with poetry as the opposite thereof (wropovfL€VOV-'1TE1TOt'l),dvov),I 6 is for time what geography is for space. And so the latter is just as little a science in the proper sense as is the former, because it too has for its object not universal truths, but only particular things; on this point I refer the reader to my chief work, volume ii, chapter 38. It has always been a favourite study of those who want to learn something without undergoing the effort required by the real branches of knowledge which tax and engross the intellect. But in our day, it is more popular than ever, as is shown by the countless history-books that appear every year. Whoever, like myself, cannot help always seeing the same thing in all history, just as at every turn of the kaleidoscope we always see the same things under different configurations, cannot share that passionate interest, although he will not find fault therewith. The only thing that is ludicrous and absurd is the desire of many to make history a part of 1S


[See Friedrich Kormann's remarks in SchopenhauC'-]ahrbuch, xxxv. 90.] ['Investigated-invented'.]



philosophy, and even to make it into philosophy itself, by imagining that it can take the place of this. Social intercourse, as is customary in the world, can be regarded as an explanation of the special liking for history which has at all times been a peculiarity of the greater public. Thus, as a rule, such intercourse consists in the fact that one man narrates something, whereupon another gives an account of something different; and on this condition everyone is certain of the attention of the rest. Here also, as in history, we see the mind occupied exclusively with the particular thing as such. As in the sciences, so too in every nobler conversation the mind rises to the universal. However, this does not deprive history of its value. Human life is so short and fleeting and spread over countless millions of individuals who plunge in crowds into the everopen, ever-waiting jaws of the monster oblivion that it is a most praiseworthy endeavour to rescue something of it, that is, the memory of the most interesting and important things, leading events and prominent people, from the general shipwreck of the world. On the other hand, history might be regarded as a continuation of zoology in so far as, with the animals collectively, a consideration of the species suffices, whereas with man, as having an individual character, we must also become acquainted with individuals and with the particular events that condition them. From this the essential imperfection of history at once follows, for the individuals and events are countless and endless. A study of them shows that the sum total of that which is still to be learnt is by no means reduced by all that has been learnt about them. With all the sciences proper, it is possible to arrive at a completeness of knowledge. When the history of China and India lies before us, the endlessness of the material will reveal to us the mistaken path and force the misguided student to see that we must recognize the many in the one, the rule in the individual case, and the activity of races in the knowledge of mankind, but not that we must enumerate facts ad infinitum. From one end to the other, history is a narrative of nothing but wars, and the same theme is the subject of all the most ancient works of art as of the most modern. The origin of all war, however, is the desire to steal; and so Voltaire quite rightly



says: dans toutes les guerres il ne s' agit que de voler. 11 Thus as soon as a nation feels an excess of strength, it falls on its neighbours and enslaves them so that, instead of living by its own labour, it may appropriate the result of theirs, whether this merely exists now or includes the future product as well. This furnishes the material for world history and its heroic deeds. In French dictionaries, in particular, artistic and literary fame should first be discussed under the word 'gloire' , 1s and then under the words 'gloire militaire' 19 there should be simply ' Vtryez hutin.' 20 It seems, however, that when two very religious peoples, the Hindus and Egyptians, felt an excess of strength, they used it in most instances not for predatory campaigns or heroic deeds, but for buildings that defy the ravages of thousands of years and render their memory sacred. In addition to the above-mentioned imperfections of history, there is also the fact that Clio, the muse of history, is as thoroughly infected with lies and falsehood as is a common prostitute with syphilis. It is true that the modern critical investigation of history endeavours to cure this, but with its local means it overcomes only isolated symptoms that break out here and there; moreover, much quackery 21 often creeps in which aggravates the evil. It is more or less the same as regards all history, with the exception of sacred history of course. I believe that the events and persons in history resemble those that actually existed about as much as the portraits of writers on the title-pages of their books in most cases resemble the authors themselves. And so they are like them only in rough outline, so that they have a faint resemblance, often distorted entirely by one feature that is false; but sometimes there is no resemblance at all. The newspapers are the seconds-hand of history; yet this is often not only of baser metal, but is seldom right. The so-called 'leading articles' in the papers are the chorus to the drama of contemporary events. Exaggeration of every kind is as essential ['In all wars it is only a question of stealing.'] ('Glory'.] 10 ['Military glory'.] :w ['See "Booty"'.] .zt [Schopenhauer uses the word Quacksalberei and may have had in mind a play on the word Quecksilber (mercury).] 17




to journalism as it is to dramatic art; for as much as possible must be made of every event; and so by virtue of their profession all journalists are alarmists; this is their way of making themselves interesting, whereby they resemble small dogs who at once start barking loudly at everything that stirs. We accordingly have to regulate our attention to their alarm-trumpet so that they will not upset our digestion; and we should know generally that the newspaper is a magnifying glass, and tllis even in the best case; for it is very often a mere phantasmagoria. In Europe world history is still accompanied by a quite peculiar chronological daily indicator which, with the intuitive presentation of events, enables us to recognize every decade at first sight and is under the direction of tailors. (For example, a reputed portrait of Mozart, which was exhibited at Frankfurt in 1856 and showed him in his early years, was at once recognized by me as not genuine because the clothes he was wearing belonged to a period twenty years earlier.) Only in the present decade has this indicator got out of order because our own day does not even possess enough originality to invent, like any other, a fashion of dress of its own, but presents only a masquerade in which people as living anachronisms run round in all kinds of costumes of earlier periods that were long ago discarded. Even the period preceding it had the necessary intelligence to invent the dress-coat. More closely considered, the matter is that, just as everyone has a physiognomy whereby we provisionally judge him, so too has every age one that is no less characteristic. For the spirit of any particular time is like a sharp east wind that blows through everything; and so we find a trace of it in all that is done, thought, or written, in n1usic and painting and in the flourishing of this or that art. It impresses its stamp on each and every thing. Thus, for example, there had to be the age of phrases without sense as also that of music without melody and of forms without aim and purpose. At best, the thick walls of a convent can stop access to the east wind provided that it docs not blow them down. Therefore, the spirit of a period gives it also its external physiognomy. The ground-bass to this is always played by the architecture of the times; in the first place, all ornaments, vessels, furniture, implements, and utensils of every kind, and finally even clothes and also the



way of trimming hair and beards are regulated by it.* As I have said, through a want of originality in all these things, the present age bears the stamp of a lack of character. But the most lamentable thing is that it has mainly selected as its model the crude, stupid, and ignorant Middle Ages from which it occasionally wanders over into the period of Francis I of France and even of Louis XIV. How its external appearance, preserved in pictures and buildings, will one day impress posterity! Its mercenary mob-flatterers call it by the characteristically melodious name of Jet;;,t.zeit or 'now-time', as though it were the present Ka:r' £gox~v, 22 the present finally attained and prepared by all the past. Think of the reverence and awe with which posterity will contemplate our palaces and country-houses that have been built in the most wretched rococo style of the period of Louis XIV! But when it looks at the portraits and daguerreotypes, it will hardly know what to make of the shoeblackphysiognomies with Socratic beards and of the bucks and dandies dressed up like the peddling Jews of my youth. Part of the general lack of taste in this age is seen in the fact that, in the monuments which are erected to great men, these are shown in modern dress. For the monument is erected to the ideal not the real person, to the hero as such, to the bearer of this or that quality, to the author of certain works or actions. It is not erected to the man who was once pushed and hustled round the world and was burdened with all the faults and failings attaching to our nature; and just as these things should not be glorified, so one should not throw a glamour over the coat and trousers he once wore. As an ideal person, however, he should stand in human form, dressed merely in the 1nanner of the ancients, and should, therefore, be half in the nude. And only so is it appropriate to sculpture which relies on the mere form and requires that the human figure be complete and not dwarfed or stunted. * As a semi-mask, the beard should be forbidden by the police. Moreover, as a distinctive mark of sex in the centre of the face, it is obscene and therefore pleases women. It was always the barometer of mental culture with the Greeks and Romans. Of the latter, Scipio Africanus was the first to shave (Pliny, Historia naluralis, lib. vn, c. 59) and under the Antonines the beard ventured to show itself again. Charlemagne would not tolerate it, bur in the Middle Ages it reached its culminating point in Henry IV. Louis XIV abolished it. :r.a ['Par exullence'.]



And while talking of monuments, I will also observe that it is an obvious lack of taste, in fact an absurdity, to put a statue on a pedestal ten to twenty feet high where no one can ever see it clearly, especially as it is usually made of bronze and is, therefore, of darkish colour. Seen from a distance, it is not clear; but when we approach it, it is so high up that it has a clear sky as its background, which dazzles the eyes. In Italian cities, especially in Florence and Rome, the statues stand in large numbers in the squares and streets, but are all on quite low pedestals so that they can be clearly seen. Even the colossal statues on Monte Cavallo are on a low pedestal. Thus even here we see the good taste of the Italians. The Germans, on the other hand, are fond of a tall confectioner's stand with reliefs to illustrate the exhibited hero.

§ 234 At the conclusion of this chapter on aesthetics, a place may be found for my opinion of Boisseree's collection of paintings of the old Lower Rhine school, which now happens to be in Munich. To be enjoyable, a genuine work of art does not really need to have the preamble of a history of art. Yet with no class of paintings is this so much the case as with those that are here discussed. At any rate, we shall correctly estimate their value only when we have seen what painting was like before Jan van Eyck. Thus it was in the style that came from Byzantium and so on a gold ground, in distemper, with figures devoid of life and movement, stiff and rigid and moreover with massive aureoles containing the name of the saint. As a true genius, Van Eyck returned to nature, gave to the paintings a background, to the figures a lifelike attitude, demeanour, and grouping, to the faces expression and truth, and to the folds correctness. Furthermore, he introduced perspective and generally attained in technical execution the highest possible perfection. Some of his successors, such as Schoreel and Hemling (or Memling), stuck to this path; others returned to the old absurdities. Even he himself had always to retain as many of these as were obligatory in accordance with ecclesiastical opinion. For example, he still had to make aureoles and massive rays oflight; but we see that he eliminated as much as he could.



Accordingly, he is always at war with the spirit of his times and so too are Schoreel and Hemling; consequently they are to be judged with regard to their time. It is this that is responsible for the fact that the subjects of their pictures are often meaningless, absurd, always trite and commonplace, and ecclesiastical; for example, 'The Three Kings', 'The Dying Mary', 'St. Christopher', 'St. Luke painting the Virgin Mary', and so on. It is likewise the fault of their time that their figures hardly ever have a free and purely human attitude and countenance, but generally make ecclesiastical signs and gestures, in other words, the forced, studied, humble, and creeping movements of the beggar. Moreover, those painters were not acquainted with antiquity and hence their figures rarely have beautiful faces; on the contrary, these arc in most cases ugly; nor do they ever have beautiful limbs. There lacks an atmospheric perspective, although the linear is for the most part correct. They have made nature the source of everything, just as she was known to them; accordingly, the expression of the faces is true and honest, but it never says much and not one of their saints has in his countenance a trace of that sublime expression of true holiness, one that only the Italians give, especially Raphael and Correggio in his earlier pictures. Accordingly, the pictures in question could be objectively criticized by saying that they have for the most part the highest technical perfection in the presentation of what is real and actual, of heads as well as of garments and material, almost as much as was attained long afterwards in the seventeenth century by the Dutch school proper. On the other hand, the noblest expression, supreme beauty and true grace have remained foreign to them. But as these are the ends of art to which technical perfection is related as the means, they are not works of art of the highest rank. In fact, they are not absolutely enjoyable, for the foregoing defects together with the pointless subjects and general ecclesiastical gestures, must always first he deducted and put to the account of the times. Their principal merit, yet only in the case of Van Eyck and his best pupils, consists in the most deceptive imitation of reality which is obtained through a clear glance into nature and an iron diligence in painting. Then there is the vividness of their colours, a merit that is exclusively peculiar to them.



With such colours no painting has been done either before or since them; they are glaring and fiery and bring to light the greatest energy of colour; and so after four hundred years, these pictures look as if they were painted yesterday. If only Raphael and Correggio had known of such colours! But they remained a secret of the school and have, therefore, been lost. They should be chemically examined.


On Judgement, Criticism, Approbation and Fame § 235 Kant has stated his aesthetics in the Critique of Judgement; accordingly, in this chapter I shall also add to the aesthetic remarks, already given, a brief critique of judgement, but only of the empirically given faculty, mainly in order to say that for the most part there is no such thing, since it is almost as rare a bird as is the phoenix for whose appearance we have to wait five hundred years.

§ 236 With the expression taste which is not tastefully chosen, we mean that discovery or even mere recognition of what is aesthetically right, such as occurs without the guidance of any rule since either no rule extends so far, or it was not known to the man exercising it or to the mere critic as the case may be. Instead of taste, one could say aesthetic feeling, did this not contain a tautology. The taste that interprets and judges is, so to speak, the female element to the male one of productive talent or genius. Not capable of producing or generating, taste consists in the ability to receive, in other words, to recognize, as such, what is right, beautiful, and appropriate, and also the opposite thereof and thus to distinguish the good from the bad, to discover and appreciate the former and to reject the latter.

§ 237 Authors can be divided into meteors, planets, and fixed stars. The meteors produce a loud momentary effect; we look up, shout 'see there!' and then they are gone for ever. The planets and comets last for a much longer time. They often shine more brightly than the fixed stars and are taken for these by the



inexperienced, although this is only because they are near. However, they too n1ust soon give up their place; in addition, they have only borrowed light and a sphere of influence that is limited to their own satellites (contemporaries). They wander and change; a circulation of a few years is all they have. The fixed stars alone are constant and unalterable; their position in the firmament is fixed; they have their own light and are at all times active, because they do not alter their appearance through a change in our standpoint, for they have no parallax. Unlike the others, they do not belong to one system (nation) alone, but to the world. But just because they are situated so high, their light usually requires many years before it becomes visible to the inhabitants of the earth.

To estimate a genius, we should take not the faults and shortcomings in his productions or the poorer of his works in order then to rate him low, but only his best work. For even in what is intellectual, the weakness and perversity of human nature stick so firmly that indeed the most brilliant mind is not always entirely free from them. Hence the grave defects to be seen even in the works of the greatest men and so Horace says: quandoque bonus dormitat Homerus. 1 On the other hand, what distinguishes the genius and should, therefore, be the standard for judging hin1, is the height to which he was able to soar when tin1e and the Inood were favourable and which for ever remains beyond the reach of ordinary talents. In the same way, it is very hazardous to draw a parallel between great men in the same class, for instance, great poets, great musicians, philosophers, and artists, because here one is almost inevitably unjust, at any rate for the moment. We then have in ·view the characteristic excellence of the one and inunediately find that this is wanting in another, whereby the latter is disparaged. If, however, we start again from this man and his characteristic yet quite different excellence, we shall seek in vain for this in the former and accordingly both will then suffer unmerited depreciation. 1

['(I am mortified) whenever the great Homer nods.' (Ars poetica, 359.)]



§ 238a There are critics each of whom imagines that it rests with him to say what is supposed to be good and what bad, since he regards his penny trumpet as the trombone of fame. Just as a medicine does not effect its purpose when the dose is too large, so is it the same with censure and criticism if these exceed the measure of justice. § 239 A misfortune for intellectual merit is that it has to wait until what is good is praised by those who themselves produce only what is bad. Indeed, speaking generally, it has to receive its crown at the hands of mankind's power of judgement, a quality with which the majority are as much endowed as is a castrated man with the power of procreation; I mean one that is only a feeble and fruitless analogue to the real thing, so that the actual quality itself is to be reckoned as one of the rare gifts of nature. Therefore what La Bruyere says is unfortunately as true as it is neat: Apres l' esprit de discernement, ce qu'il y a au monde de plus rare, ce sont les diamans et les perles. 2 Faculty of discernment, esprit de discernement, and accordingly power of judgement; it is these that are wanting. They do not know how to distinguish the genuine from the spurious, the oats from the chaff, gold from copper. They do not perceive the wide gulf between the ordinary and the rarest mind. No one is taken for what he is, but for what others make of him. This is the dodge for keeping down those with outstanding intellects; mediocrities use it to prevent for as long as possible distinguished minds from coming to the top. The result of this is the drawback that is expressed in the old-fashioned verse: 'Now here on earth 'tis the fate of the great, When they no longer live, we them appreciate.'

If any genuine and excellent work appears, it first finds in its path and already in occupation of its place that which is bad and is considered good. Now when after a long and hard struggle, it actually succeeds in vindicating for itself a place and ['Next to the power of judgement the rarest things in the world are diamonds and pearls.'] 2



in coming into vogue, it will again not be long before men drag up some affected, brainless, and boorish imitator, in order quite coolly and calmly to put him on the altar next to genius. For they see no difference, but quite seriously imagine that their imitator is just such another great man. For this reason, Yriarte begins his twenty-eighth fable of literature with the words:J Siempre acostumbra hacer el vulgo necio De lo bueno y lo malo igual aprecio. (At all times have the vulgar herd Equally relished the good and the bad.)

Soon after Shakespeare's death, his dramas had to make way for those of Ben Jonson, Massinger, Beaumont and Fletcher, and for a hundred years had to yield the supremacy to these. In the same way, Kant's serious philosophy was supplanted by Fichte's humbug, Schelling's eclecticism, and Jacobi's mawkish and pious drivel, until in the end things went to such lengths that an utterly wretched charlatan like Hegel was put on a level with, and even rated much higher than, Kant. Even in a sphere that is accessible to all, we see the incomparable Sir Walter Scott soon pushed aside from public attention by unworthy imitators. For at bottom the public everywhere has no sense for what is excellent and thus no idea how infinitely rare are those capable of really achieving something in poetry, art, or philosophy; yet their works alone are worthy of our exclusive attention. Therefore Horace's verse mediocribus esse poetis Non homines, non D£, non concessere columnae4

should daily be ruthlessly rubbed into the bunglers of poetry and likewise of all the other higher branches of knowledge.* These, indeed, are the weeds that do not allow the corn to come up so that they themselves may spread over everything. • In Jacquu u Fatalisu Diderot says that all the arts are pursued by bunglers-a very true statement indeed. [Tomas de Yriarte (175Q-91), a Spanish poet, and keeper of archives in the War Office at Madrid.] 4 ['Neither gods, nor men, nor even advertising pillars permit the poet to be a mediocrity! (Ars fJCitica, 372-3.)] J



There then occurs what is finely and originally described by Feuchtersleben who died at so early an age: 'Nothing's being done!' they insolently exclaim, And yet the great work matures all the same. Unseen it appears and drowned by their cry, Quietly in modest griefit passes by.

That deplorable want of judgement is seen just as much in the sciences, in the tenacious life of false and refuted theories. When once they are accepted, they defy truth for fifty or even a hundred years, just as does a stone pier the waves of the sea. Even after a hundred years, Copernicus had not replaced Ptolemy. Bacon, Descartes, and Locke were extremely slow and a long time in making their way. (We need only read d'Alcmbcrt's famous preface to the Encyclopedie.) It was the same with Newton; consider, for instance, the anger and contempt with which Leibniz attacked Newton's system of gravitation in his controversy with Clarke, especially §§ 35, ng, 118, 120, 122, 128. Although Newton lived almost forty years after the appearance of the Principia, his doctrine was at the time of his death partially acknowledged, but only in England, whereas outside his own country, he could hardly count on twenty followers, according to the preamble to Voltaire's account of his theory. It was precisely this account that contributed most to the recognition of Newton's system in France some twenty years after his death. Until then, people in that country had stuck firmly, steadfastly, and patriotically to the Cartesian vortices; whereas only forty years previously the same Cartesian philosophy had been forbidden in French schools. Again the Chancellor d' Aguesseau refused Voltaire the imprimatur for his account of the Newtonian doctrine. On the other hand, Newton's absurd colour theory is in our own day still in complete command of the field forty years after the appearance of Goethe's theory. Although Hume started very early and wrote in a thoroughly popular style, he escaped notice and was ignored until he was fifty. Kant had written and taught all his life and yet he became famous only after he was sixty. Artists and poets naturally have more scope than have thinkers because their public is at least a hundred times greater. Yet what did the public think of Mozart and



Beethoven during their lifetime? \Vhat was thought of Dante and even of Shakespeare? If the latter's contemporaries had somehow recognized his worth, at least one good and reliable portrait of him would have come down to us from an age when the art of painting flourished; whereas there now exist only very doubtful paintings, a very bad copper engraving, and an even worse bust on his tomb.s In the same way, the manuscripts left by him would exist in hundreds instead of being restricted, as now, to a few signatures on legal documents. All Portuguese are still proud of Camoes, their only poet; yet he lived on alms that were collected for him every evening in the street by a Negro boy whom he had brought from the Indies. In time, no doubt, full justice will be done to everyone (tempo e galant-uomo),6 but it is as slow and late in coming as it formerly was from the Imperial Chamber at Wetzlar, and the tacit condition is that he must no longer be alive. For the precept of Jesus ben Sirach is faithfully followed: ante mortem ne laudes hominem quemquam.7 For whoever has created immortal works must, for his own consolation, apply to them the Indian myth that the minutes of the lives of the immortals seem to be like years on earth, and likewise the years on earth are only minutes of the immortals. This deplorable want of a power of judgement is seen also in the fact that in every century the excellent work of earlier times is certainly respected, whereas that of its own is not appreciated, and the attention that is due to such work is devoted to inferior products. Every decade goes round with them for the purpose of being laughed at by the one that follows. And so when genuine merit makes its appearance in their own times, men are slow to recognize it; and this shows that they neither understand, nor enjoy, nor really appreciate even the long-acknowledged works of genius which they respect and admire on authority. The proof of this is that when anything bad, Fichte's philosophy for instance, is once established, it remains in vogue for a generation or two. Only when its public is very large does its fall more rapidly ensue. s A. Wivell, An Inquiry into the Histmy, Authmtici!J, and Characteristics ofShakspeare's PortTaits; with twenty-one engravings, London, 1836. 6 ['Time is a man of honour (though no one else is).' (Italian proverb.)] 7 ['Judge none blessed before his death.' (Ecclesiasticus 1 1 : 28.)]



§ 240 Now just as the sun needs an eye to see its light, and music an ear to hear its notes, so is the value of all masterpieces in art and science conditioned by the mind which is akin and equal to them and to which they speak. Only such a mind possesses the magic word whereby the spirits hidden in such works are stirred and reveal themselves. The ordinary man stands before them as before a sealed magic cabinet, or before an instrument which he does not know how to play and from which he can, therefore, draw only confused and irregular notes, however much he may like to deceive himself on this. Just as the effect of an oil painting differs according as it is seen in a dark corner or as the sun shines on it, so is the impression of the same masterpiece different according to the mental capacity of the man who is looking at it. Consequently, really to exist and live, a fine work requires a sensitive mind, and one well conceived needs a mind that can think. But afterwards the man who presents such a work to the world, may only too often feel like a maker of fireworks who has enthusiastically let off the fireworks that took him so much time and trouble to prepare, only to learn that he came to the wrong place and that all the spectators were inmates of an institution for the blind. And yet perhaps he is better off than he would be if his public had been none but makers of fireworks; for in that case it might have cost him his head if his display had been extraordinarily good.

§ 241 Homogeneity is the source of all pleasure. To our sense of beauty our own species and again our own race therein are unquestionably the most beautiful. In intercourse with others, everyone has a decided preference for those who resemble him, so that to one blockhead the society of another is incomparably preferable to that of all the great minds taken together. Accordingly, everyone is bound to take the greatest pleasure primarily in his own works simply because they mirror his own mind and echo his own thoughts. Then after these, the works of those like him will be to his taste ; and so the dull, shallow, and eccentric man, the dealer in mere words, will express his sincere and hearty approbation only of what is dull, shallow,



eccentric, and merely verbose. On the other hand, he will accept the works of great minds only on authority, because he is forced to through fear; in his heart of hearts he really dislikes them. 'They do not appeal to him'; indeed they are distasteful to him; yet this he will not admit even to himself. The works of genius can be really enjoyed only by favoured and gifted minds; their first recognition, however, calls for considerable intellectual superiority when they still exist without authority. Accordingly, if we consider all this, we ought not to be surprised that approbation and fame are so late in coming to them, but rather that they ever come to them at all. Indeed, only by a slow and complicated process does this happen, since every inferior mind is forced, and as it were tamed, into gradually acknowledging the superiority of the one placed immediately above it; and so this goes on upwards until by degrees a result is reached where the weight of the voices defeats their number; and this is the very condition of all genuine, i.e. merited fame. But till then the greatest genius, even after he has undergone his trials, must be in much the same position as would a king among a crowd of his own people who do not know him personally and will, therefore, not obey him when his chief ministers do not accompany him. For no subordinate official is capable of receiving his commands direct, since such a man knows only the signature of his immediate superior. This is repeated all the way up to the very top where the secretary of the cabinet attests the signature of the minister and the latter that of the king. With the masses, the reputation of a genius is conditioned by analogous stages. Therefore at the very beginning, its progress most readily comes to a standstill because the highest authorities, of whom there can be only a few, are very often missing. On the other hand, the further down one goes, the more there are to whom the command applies and so his fame is no longer brought to a standstill. We must console ourselves over this state of affairs with the thought that it should be regarded as fortunate when the great majority form a judgement not on their own responsibility, but only on the authority of others. For what kind of judgements would we get on Plato and Kant, Homer, Shakespeare, and Goethe, if everyone judged according to what he actually had and enjoyed in them, and if it were not the compelling



force of authority that made him say what was fit and proper, however little at heart he may feel inclined to do so? Without such a state of affairs, it would be impossible for true merit of a high order to gain a reputation at all. At the same time, it is also fortunate that everyone has enough judgement of his own, as is necessary for him to recognize the superiority and to submit to the authority of the man immediately above him. In this way, the many ultimately submit to the authority of the few and there results that hierarchy of judgements whereon is established the possibility of a firm and ultimately farreaching fame. For the lowest class to whom the merits of a great mind are quite inaccessible, there is in the end only the monument which through the impression on their senses stirs in them a faint notion of those merits.

§ 242 The fame of merit of a higher order is as much opposed by enl!J as by a want of judgement. For even in the lowest kinds of work, envy is at the outset opposed to fame and stays with it to the very end; and so it greatly contributes to the depravity and wickedness of the world and its ways and Ariosto is right in describing it as questa assai piu oscura, che serena Vita mortal, tutta d' inuidia puma. 8

Thus envy is the soul of that league of all the mediocrities which is formed secretly and informally, flourishes everywhere, and in every branch of knowledge is opposed to the distinguished and outstanding individual. Thus in his own sphere of activity no one will hear of or tolerate such eminence, but the universal watchword of mediocrity is everywhere: si quelqu'un excelle parmi nous, qu'il aille exceller ailleurs. 9 Therefore in addition to the rarity of an excellent work and to the difficulty it finds in being understood and acknowledged, there is that envy of thousands who all agree to suppress it and, where possible, to stifle it altogether. There are two ways of behaving towards merit; either to ('In this life of man which is more sombre and melancholy than b.r:ight and cheerful and is so full of envy.'] 9 ['If anyone makes his mark among us, let him go and do so elsewhere.'] 8



have some of one's own, or to admit none in others. On account of its greater convenience, the latter is in most cases preferred. Thus as soon as eminent talent in any branch of knowledge makes itself felt, all the mediocrities therein unanimously strive to cover it up, to deprive it of opportunity, and in every way to prevent it from being known, displayed, and brought to light, just as if it were high treason against their incapacity, shallowness, and amateurishness. In most cases, their system of suppression is for a long time successful, simply because the genius, who offers them his work with childlike trust and confidence so that they may enjoy it, is least able to hold his own against the tricks and dodges of mean fellows who are thoroughly at home only in what is common and vulgar. In fact, he never even suspects or understands them; and then, bewildered and dismayed by the reception he gets, he begins to have doubts about his own work and mav then lose confidence ' in himself and abandon his attempts, unless his eyes are opened in time to those worthless fellows and their activities. Not to look for instances from the too recent past or from remote and legendary antiquity, let us see how the envy of German musicians for a whole generation steadfastly refused to acknowledge the great Rossini's merit. At a large choral society dinner I once witnessed how they sneeringly chanted through the menu to the melody of his immortal Di Tanti Palpiti. Impotent envy! The melody overpowered and engulfed the vulgar words. And so, in spite of all envy and jealousy, Rossini's wonderful melodies have spread over the whole globe and have refreshed and regaled every heart, as much then as they still do today and will do in secula seculorum. 10 We see also how German medical men, especially the reviewers and critics, boil with rage when a man like Marshall Hall lets it be known that he realizes he has achieved something. Envy is a sure sign of a want of something; and so when it is directed against merit, it is a sign of a want thereof. The attitude of envy towards outstanding merit has been very well described by my admirable Balthasar Gracian in a lengthy fable; it is found in his Discreto under the title 'Hombre de ostentacion '. In the story 10

['For centuries to come'.]



all the birds are enraged and in league against the peacock with his magnificent feathers. ' If only we can manage', said the magpie, 'to prevent him from making his cursed parade with his tail, his beauty will soon be entirely eclipsed, for what no one sees is as good as non-existent', and so forth. Accordingly, the virtue of modesty was also invented merely as a weapon of defence against envy. In my chief work, volume ii, chapter 37, I have discussed at length how at all times there are bunglers who insist on modesty and are so heartily delighted at the modesty of a man of merit. Goethe's well-known statement which is distasteful to n1any, namely that 'only bunglers are modest', has already been expressed by Cervantes who in an appendix to his Viage al Parnaso gives as one of the instructions for poets: Que todo poeta, d quien sus versos hubieren dado d entender

que lo es, se estime y tenga en mucho, atmiendose d aquel refran: ruin sea el que por ruin se tiene. (Every poet whose verses have suggested to him that he is one, should have a high opinion of himself, relying on the proverb that a knave is one who regards himself as such.) In many of his sonnets, the only place where Shakespeare could speak of himself, he declares that what he writes is immortal and says so with a confidence equal to his ingenuousness. Collier, his modern critical editor, says in his introduction to the sonnets, pp. 4 73-4: 'In many there are to be found most remarkable indications of selfconfidence, and of assurance in the immortality of his verses, and in this respect the author's opinion was constant and uniform. He never scrupled to express it-and perhaps there is no writer of ancient or of modern times who for the quantity of such writings left behind him, has so frequently or so strongly declared his firm belief that what he had written in this department of poetry, "the world would not willingly let die".' A method which is frequently used by envy for underrating the good and is at bottom the mere reverse of this, is the dishonourable and unscrupulous praising of the bad; for as soon as the bad gains currency, the good is lost. This method may be effective for quite a long time, especially if it is carried out on a large scale; however, a day of reckoning ultimately comes and the temporary credit given to inferior productions is paid for by the lasting discredit of their infamous eulogists who for that reason prefer to remain anonymous.



As the same danger threatens the direct underrating and censuring of good work, although more remotely, many are too shrewd to run the risk of doing this. When, therefore, eminent merit makes its appearance, the first result is often only that all the rivals are thereby as deeply piqued as were the birds by the peacock's tail, and enter into a profound silence which is as unanimous as ifit had been arranged by agreement; the tongues of all are paralysed; it is Seneca's silentium livoris.II This malicious and spiteful silence, technically known as ignoring, is where the matter n1ay rest for a long time when the immediate public of such achievements, as is the case in the higher branches of learning, consists of none but competitors and rivals (professional men) and consequently the greater public exercises its franchise only indirectly through them and does not itself investigate the matter. If, however, that silentium livoris is finally interrupted by praise, then even this will only rarely be done without any interested motive on the part of those who here dispense justice: 'No recognition can ever come From the many or the one, If it does not help to show What the critic too might know.' Goethe, Westostlicher Diwan.

Thus, at bottom, everyone must deprive himself of the fame he gives to son1eone else in his m·vn or a kindred branch of knowledge; he can praise him only at the expense of his own acceptance and importance. Consequently, in and by themselves, men are certainly not disposed and inclined to praise and eulogize, but rather to blame and find fault, for they thereby indirectly praise themselves. If, however, praise does come from mankind, there must be other considerations and motives. Now as the infamous way of comrades cannot be meant here, the effective consideration then is that what is nearest to the merit of one's own achievements are the correct appreciation and recognition of those of others, in accordance with the threefold gradation of minds which is drawn up by Hesiod and Machiavelli. (See n1y Fourfold Root of the Principle II

['The silence of envy'.]


of Sufficient Reason, § 20.) Now whoever abandons the hope of making good his claim to the first class, will gladly seize the opportunity of occupying a place in the second. Almost entirely on this docs the certainty rest with which every merit can look forward to its ultimate recognition. Frmn this also comes the fact that, after the high value of a work is once recognized and can no longer be concealed or denied, all then vie with one another in praising and honouring it because in this way they bring honour to themselves, in accordance with the observation of Xenophanes: uoc/>ov E lJI(tt 8EZ TtJV €myvwuop.Evoll Tov uo¢6v. 1z They therefore hasten to seize for themselves the next best thing to the prize of original merit that is beyond their reach, namely its correct appreciation. It is much the same here as with an army that has been forced to surrender; whereas previously in the fight everyone wanted to be in the forefront, in the rout he now wants to be the first to run away. Thus everyone now hastens to offer his approbation to that which is acknowledged as praiseworthy likewise by virtue of the recognition, often concealed from himself, of the law of homogeneity which I discussed in § 241, so that it may seem as though his way of thinking and looking at things is homogeneous with that of the famous man, and that at any rate he may save the honour of his taste which is the only thing left to him. From this it is easy to sec that fame is admittedly very difficult to attain, but when once attained is easy to keep; and also that a reputation that comes quickly soon disappears, for here also quod cito fit, cito perit. r 3 It is obvious that achievements whose value could be so easily recognized by the ordinary average man and so willingly accepted by rivals, would not be very much above the productive ability of either. For tantum quisque laudat, quantum se posse sperat imitari.I4 Moreover, on account of the law of homogeneity, already frequently mentioned, a reputation that quickly appears is a suspicious sign, for it is the direct approbation of the masses. Phocion knew what this meant, for when he heard the loud popular applause over his speech, he asked friends who were standing n ['One must be a sage to recognize a sage.' J 1 l ('What rapidly originates rapidly perishes.'] 1 " ['Everyone praises only as much as he himself hopes to achieve.' J



near him whether he had unintentionally said something bad and worthless (Plutarch, Apophthegms). For opposite reasons, a reputation that is to endure for long, will be very late in maturing and the centuries of its duration must often be purchased at the price of the approbation of contemporaries. For whatever is to keep its position for so long, must have an excellence that is difficult to attain; and even merely to acknowledge this calls for men of intellect who do not always exist, at any rate in sufficient numbers to make themselves heard, whereas envy is always on the watch and will do everything to stifle their voice. Moderate merits, on the other hand, are soon recognized; but then there is the danger that their possessor outlives them and himself, so that fame in his youth may mean for him obscurity in his old age. On the other hand, with great merits, a man will remain long in obscurity, but in return for this will then attain to brilliant fame in his old age.* Should this, however, occur only after his death, he is to be reckoned among those of whom Jean Paul says that extreme unction is their baptism; and he has to console himself with the saints who are also canonized only after their death. Thus what Mahlmann has said so well in his Herodes vor Bethlehem proves to be true: 'What's truly great in the world, it seems, Is never that which delights at once. The idol whom the mob creates Its altar very soon vacates.' It is noteworthy that this rule has its most direct confirmation in paintings since, as connoisseurs know, the greatest masterpieces do not at once attract the eye or make a great impression on the first occasion, but do so only after repeated visits; and th (Opera et dies, l. 40) zo here find their right application. In any case, do not say everything! Le secret ['It often happens that what is said by an expert is easier to understand and far more lucid ... Consequently, a man will be the more obscure, the more worthless he is.'] 19 ['The adjective is the enemy of the substantive.'] ao ['The half is more than the whole.'] 18


pour etre ennuyeux, c' est de tout dire. 21 Hence, if possible, nothing but the quintessence, nothing but the main points, nothing that the reader would think of by himself. To use many words for the purpose of conveying few ideas is everywhere the infallible sign of mediocrity; whereas that of an eminent mind is the inclusion of many ideas into few words. Truth is most beautiful when naked and the impression it makes is the deeper, the simpler its expression. This is, to some extent, because it takes unobstructed possession of the hearer's entire mind which is not distracted by any secondary idea, and also because he feels that here he is not being corrupted or deceived by the tricks of rhetoric, but that the whole effect comes from the thing itself. For instance, what declamation on the vanity and emptiness of human existence will make a greater impression than Job's homo, natus de muliere, brevi vivit tempore, repletus multis miseriis, qui, tanquamflos, egreditur et conteritur, etfugit velut umbra? 22 For this reason, Goethes' naive poetry is incomparably greater than Schiller's rhetorical verses. Hence too the powerful effect of many popular songs. Therefore as in architecture we have to beware of being excessively ornate, so in the arts of speech we must guard against all unnecessary rhetorical refinement, all useless amplifications, and generally all superfluity of expression; thus we must aspire to chastity of style. Everything that is superfluous has a harmful effect. The law of simplicity and naivete applies to all the fine arts, since these are compatible even with what is the most sublime. Dullness and insipidiry assume all forms with the object of hiding behind them. They exist in the guise of haughtiness, bombast, a tone of superiority and fine airs, and in a hundred other forms, but not in that of naivete, since here they would stop short and produce mere silliness and stupidity. Even a good head dare not be naive, for it would appear dry and poor; and so naivete remains the robe of honour for genius, just as nakedness is that of beauty. Genuine brevity of expression consists in our always saying only what is worth saying and, on the other hand, in avoiding ['The secret of being dull and tedious consists in our saying everything.'] ['Man that is born of a woman is offew days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow. and continueth not.' (Job 14: 1-2.)] 11



lengthy and involved explanations of what everyone can add for himself in his thoughts. It also entails a correct discrimination between what is necessary and what is superfluous. On the other hand, we should never sacrifice to brevity clearness, not to mention grammar. To mar the expression of an idea, or even to obscure and stunt the meaning of a period, for the sake of economy of words, is a deplorable lack of intelligence. But this is precisely the business of that false brevity which is the fashion nowadays and consists in the omission of what is useful and expedient and even grammatically or logically necessary. In Germany at the present time inferior literary hacks are smitten with this brevity as with a mania and practise it with incredible folly and stupidity. Thus to save a word and to kill two birds with one stone, they make one verb or one adjective simultaneously serve several different periods, indeed in different ways. The reader must then go through all these without understanding them groping in the dark as it were, until the last word is reached which throws some light on the matter. Or again by many other quite improper word economies, they try to produce what their silliness and stupidity imagine to be brevity of expression and conciseness of style. Thus by economizing on a word which would have at once thrown light on a period, they make a riddle thereof, which the reader tries to unravel by going through it over and over again. In particular, the particles wenn and so are proscribed by them and must everywhere be made good by putting the verb first, and this without the necessary discrimination, too subtle for their minds of course, whether or not this turn of the sentence is suitable. The result of this is often not only inelegant roughness and affectation, but also incomprehensibility. Akin to this, is a grammatical blunder which is nowadays a universal favourite and is best shown by an example. In order to say: kame er zu mir, so wiirde ich ihm sagen, and so on, nine-tenths of our present-day ink-slingers write: wiirde er ,zu mir kommen, ich sagte ihm, and so on, which is not only inelegant, but wrong; for only an interrogative period can really begin with wurde, a hypothetical sentence being at most only in the present and not in the future. But now their talent for brevity of expression does not go beyond counting words and devising tricks for expunging at any price some word, or even only a syllable. It is solely in this respect that they attempt con-


ciseness of style and pithiness of enunciation. Accordingly, every sylJable whose logical, grammatical, or euphonic value escapes their dull brains, is promptly lopped off; and as soon as one ass has performed such a heroic deed, a hundred others follow and cheerfully emulate him. And nowhere is there any opposition to this folly, but as soon as one fellow has made a really asinine blunder, others admire it and hasten to imitate it. Accordingly, in the 184os these ignorant ink-slingers entirely eliminated from the German language the perfect and pluperfect by everywhere replacing them with the imperfect for the sake of their beloved brevity, so that this remains the only preterite in the language. This they did at the expense not only of all the finer shades of accuracy or even only of all grammatical correctness of phrase but also of all common sense, since sheer nonsense is the result. Therefore of all those mutilations of the language, this is the most scurl!)' because it attacks logic and hence the meaning of speech. It is a linguistic infamy.* I am willing to bet that in the last ten years whole books have appeared in which not a single pluperfect, and perhaps not even a perfect, tense is to be found. Do these gentlemen really imagine that imperfect and perfect have the same meaning and that each can, therefore, be used indiscriminately? If this is their opinion, a place must be found for them in the fourth form of a grammar-school. What would have become of ancient authors if they had written so carelessly? Almost without exception this outrage is committed on the language in all the newspapers and for the most part in learned periodicals as weli.t For, as I have already mentioned, in Germany every folly in literature and every impudent trick in ordinary life find hosts of imitators, and no one dares to stand • Of all the infamies perpetrated today on the German language, the elimination of the perfect and the substitution of the imperfect is the most pernicious; for it directly affects the logical aspect of speech, destroys its sense, abolishes fundamental distinctions, and causes it to say something different from what was intended. In German the imperfect and perfect may be put only where we should put them in Latin; for the leading principle is the same in both languages, namely to distinguish an uncompleted action still going on from one that is completed and already lies entirely in the past. t In the Gottingische Anzeigen which claims to be literary and learned (Feb. 1856), I found, instead of the pluperfect subjunctive, so definitely required if there is to be any sense in the phrase, the simple imperfect in the phrase er schien instead of er ~de geschimm haben, all for the sake of that beloved brevity. My retort was: rruserable wretch! '


on his own feet, just because the power of judgement is not at home with us, but with neighbours who come to visit us, a fact I cannot conceal. Through this extirpation of those two important tenses, a language sinks to the level of the coarsest and crudest. To put the imperfect instead of the perfect is a sin not merely against German grammar but against the universal grammar of all languages. And so it would be a good thing if for German authors a small school were established in which one taught the difference between the imperfect, perfect, and pluperfect and that between genitive and ablative; for with the utmost unconcern the latter is invariably written instead of the former. For instance, das Leben von Leibniz and der Tod von Andreas liofer are written instead of Leibnizens Leben, Hofers Tod. How would such a blunder be taken in other languages? \Vhat, for example, would the Italians say if an author confused di and da (i.e. genitive and ablative)? But since in French these two particles are represented by the dull and colourless de and a knowledge of modern languages on the part of German writers of books does not usually go beyond a small modicum ofFrench, they imagine they are allowed also to impose on the German language that French weakness and, as is usual with follies, they meet with approbation and imitation.* For the same worthy reason, because the French language is so poor that the preposition pour has to do duty for four or five German prepositions, the preposition fur is used by our brainless ink-slingers wherever gegen, urn, auf, or some other preposition should be used, or even where there should be no preposition at all, merely for the sake of aping and imitating the French pour. In this connection things have come to such a pass that five times out of six the preposition fur is wrongly used. t Von instead of aus is also a • The ablative with z>on has become a regular synonym for the genitive. Everyone imagines he is at liberty to use which he likes. Gradually it will entirely replace the genitive and everyone will write like a Franco-German. Now this is scandalous; grammar has lost all authority and the arbitrary action of scribblers has taken its place. The genitive in German is expressed by tks and der, and von expresses the ablative. Take note of this, my dear fellows, once for all when you want to write German and not Franco-German jargon! t Soon fiir will be the only preposition in German. There arc no limits to its abuse. Liebe fur Andere instead of zu. Beleg fur x instead of .;:u. wird fur die Reparalur der Maucrn gebraucht instead of zur. Professor fur Pf.)'Sik instead of der. ist fii.r die Untersuchung erfo7derlich instead of zur. die Jury hat ihnfii.r schuldig erkannt : aburulat [is superAuous]. Fur den 1 2ten erwart.e: man tkn Herzog instead of am or zum.


Gallicism. Also turns of phrase such as Diese Menschen, sie haben keine Urtheilskraft instead of Diese Menschen haben keine Urtheilskraft, and generally the introduction of the meagre grammar of an agglutinated patois like French into the much nobler German language constitute pernicious Gallicisms. But this does not apply, as some narrow-minded purists imagine, to the introduction of individual foreign words that are assimilated and enrich the language. Almost half the German words can be derived from Latin, although there is still some doubt as to which words were Bdtriige fur Geologie instead of zur. Rilcksicht fur Jemanden instead of gegen. &if fiir etwas instead of zu. Er brauchl es fiir seine Arbeit instead of zu. Die Steuerlast fiir wu:rtrliglich finden. Grund fiir etwas instead of zu. Liebe fiir Musik instead of zur. Dasjenige, was frUher fiir oothig erschienen, jetzt . .• (Po.stzeitung). fiir nOthig finden, erachten is found almost without exception in an the books and papers of the last ten years, but is a blunder of which in my young days no sixth-form boy would have been guilty. For in German we say oothig erachten; on the other hand, we say fiir twth.ig halten. When such a writer requires some preposition, he does not for one moment stop to think, but writesfiir, whatever it may signify. This preposition has to stand up and take the place of an the others. Gesuchfiir die Gestattung instead of um. Filr die Dauer instead of auf. Fti.r